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Political parties’ latest donations and borrowing figures published

News release published: 23-11-2011

Seven political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of over £10 million in donations between 1 July and 30 September 2011, according to new figures published by the Electoral Commission, the independent party funding watchdog.

During the third quarter of 2011, five parties also accepted payments from public funds of just under £2.1 million

On 30 September 2011, the total loans entered into by parties stood at £14.8 million, credit facilities (such as overdrafts) at just under £16 million and connected transactions (such as guarantees) at £755,000.

The Commission’s registers of donations and borrowing accepted in the third quarter of 2011 show that:

Donations

Seven political parties reported donations totalling £10,033,981 (excluding public funds) accepted between 1 July and 30 September.

The three political parties to accept the most in donations were:

  • Labour Party - £3,529,270
  • Conservative and Unionist Party - £2,744,618
  • Scottish National Party (SNP) - £1,988,657

Borrowing

  • The total amount of loans outstanding at 30 September 2011 was £14,789,996; total credit facilities at £15,895,500 and total connected transactions at £755,000.
  • Four parties entered into new loans totaling £128,900.
  • Two parties reported reducing the money available through credit facilities by £105,000.

Regulatory action

There are a number of issues that the Commission will now review in line with our Enforcement Policy.  They include:

The failure of seven of the 366 registered parties to provide their required donation or borrowing returns before the statutory deadline of 30 October.  The seven parties are:

  • Astley Bridge First (donations and borrowing)
  • Ban Bankers Bonuses (donations and borrowing)
  • Borough of Rochdale Independent Alliance (borrowing)
  • Commonwealth National Party (donations and borrowing)
  • Congleton First (donations and borrowing)
  • The Chase Independent Party (donations and borrowing)
  • The Heart of Malvern Party (donations)

The reporting of twenty-seven donations and public fund payments in the third quarter of 2011 which should have been reported in previous returns by:

  • Liberal Democrats
  • Green Party
  • Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Labour Party
  • Scottish Green Party

The reporting of two loans and one change to conditions that should also have been reported in previous returns by:

  • Liberal Democrats
  • Conservative and Unionist Party

The Commission has a range of sanctions for those who do not comply with the rules. These include issuing fines and serving compliance notices requiring parties to take specific steps by a required date to ensure compliance with their obligations in future; where a party does not comply within the timescale set, they may face additional fines.   When deciding whether a sanction is appropriate, the Commission considers a range of factors including whether parties have failed to comply with their obligations in the past.

Summary and analysis

A summary of the donations and borrowing declared in the third quarter of 2011 follows below. Full details of all donations and loans are available on our registers at: https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/search/searchintro.aspx

An analysis of donations reported in the third quarter of 2011 is also available at: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding/party-finance-analysis-Q3-2011

ENDS

For further information contact:

The Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
Out of office hours 07789 920414 

Notes to editors

 

  1. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance, set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulations of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).
  2. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires GB and NI registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and borrowing on a quarterly basis to the Electoral Commission. Political parties must report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 to the central party, or over £1,500 to an accounting unit, to the Electoral Commission. This includes aggregates of donations and loans from the same source. Prior to 1 January 2010, these thresholds were £5,000 and £1,000, respectively. The Commission publishes all donations over these thresholds on a quarterly basis.
  3. Parties can accept donations or enter into borrowing of over £500 only if they are deemed ‘permissible’ under the terms of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (PPERA) 2000 at the time the donation was made or borrowing entered into. Prior to 1 January 2010, the threshold was £200.
  4. From 1 November 2007 parties on the Northern Ireland register of political parties have been required to conform to donation controls and from July 2008 with controls on borrowing.  As required by the legislation, permissible donations and borrowing reported to us will not be published. On 17 January 2011 the government announced that it would bring forward legislation to extend the current confidentiality arrangements for donations and loans to political parties in Northern Ireland for a further two years (ending 28 February 2013). It also stated that it would explore options for making modifications to the current arrangements to allow for more transparency and would introduce legislation if necessary. The government also published details of those who had responded to the consultation.
  5. A party commits an offence if, without a reasonable excuse, it fails to report donations or loans in the quarter in which they were accepted. Sanctions apply only to those donations and loans that have to be reported from 1 December 2010. Where we establish that an offence has been committed, we will consider mitigating and aggravating factors to determine whether to issue a sanction and if so, the most appropriate in line with our Enforcement Policy. The sanctions we might apply include a fixed monetary penalty of £200, a variable monetary penalty between £250-£20,000, or a compliance notice requiring particular action by the party.  Other sanctions are available and include variable monetary penalties of up to £5,000 for this type of breach.
  6. More information can be found in the Enforcement Policy on our website: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/106743/Enforcement-Policy-30March11.pdf
  7. Charts and tables providing comparisons to previous quarters can be accessed at:
    www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding
    To search the register of donations, loans, campaign expenditure of political parties, visit the PEF Online register https://pefonline.electoralcommission.org.uk/search/searchintro.aspx.
  8. To access all accounts of parties and accounting units from 2002, please visit www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/PEF-online-registers/statements-of-account
  9. The figures reported for donations and borrowing have been rounded to the nearest £. Exact figures are available on our website.
  10. Table of donations and borrowing reported in quarter 3 of 2011 which should have been reported previously can be accessed through our analysis page www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding/party-finance-analysis-Q3-2011
  11. Some donations appear on the register as being from the House of Lords or House of Commons. These are ‘Short’ and ‘Cranborne’ grants which are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons and House of Lords respectively.
  12. Some donations appear on the register as being from the Electoral Commission. These are Policy Development Grants, which were established by PPERA 2000 for parties represented in the Commons by two or more sitting members. The grants are intended to assist parties in developing the policies that they will present in an election manifesto. The legislation provides the total sum of £2 million annually for this purpose. Policy Development Grants became reportable as donations for the first time in quarter three of 2006 as a result of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.
  13. Credit facilities are an agreement where a registered party is entitled to receive a loan of money from time to time from another person (or organisation). The credit facility will generally have an upper limit specified in the credit facility agreement. Examples of common credit facilities include overdrafts and credit cards. The amount displayed is the maximum that can be borrowed and not the amount that is drawn upon at any one time.
  14. Connected transactions are an arrangement where a person (or organisation) gives any form of security on behalf of a political party in respect of a loan or a credit facility arranged with someone other than the party or the person giving security. Where a person (or organisation) has provided security or a guarantee, it is the maximum that they could be liable to pay.

Summary of Q3 2011 donations and borrowing

Please note: figures are rounded to the nearest pound.

DONATIONS

Donations to all political parties over the last four quarters

Quarter Donations excluding public funds Public funds Donations total
Quarter three 2011 £10,033,981 £2,088,686 £12,122,667
Quarter two 2011 £8,673,895 £2,796,184 £11,470,079
Quarter one 2011 £8,831,135 £2,148,173 £10,979,308
Quarter four 2010 £6,779,000 £4,097,105 £10,876,105
Total £34,318,011 £11,130,148 £45,448,159

 Donations to political parties accepted in Quarter three

Party Donations excluding public funds Public funds Total accepted in Quarter three 2011
Conservative and Unionist Party £2,744,618 £27,012 £2,774,630
Co-operative Party £534,758 £0 £534,758
Green Party £11,530 £0 £11,530
Labour Party £3,529,270 £1,647,748 £5,177,017
Liberal Democrats £1,199,623 £357,932 £1,557,555
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales £0 £17,483 £17,483
Scottish National Party (SNP) £1,988,657 £38,512 £2,027,169
UK Independence Party (UK IP) £25,525 £0 £25,525
Total £10,033,981 £2,088,686 £12,122,667

Donations accepted in previous quarters and reported late in this quarter

Donations and public funds reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters totalled £92,307.

Party National party Accounting unit
Value Number Value  Number
Conservative and Unionist Party £0 0 £5,000 1
Green Party £9,000 1 £0 0
Labour Party £0 0 £2,000 1
Liberal Democrats £0 0 £67,937 23
Scottish Green Party £8,369 1 £0 0
Total £17,369 2 £74,937 25

Public funds

Three parties, Labour Party, Pliad Cymru - The Party of Wales and the Scottish National Party (SNP), accepted a totalof £1,524,410 in Short money, which the UK Parliament pays directly to opposition parties in the House of Commons.

Three parties – Conservative and Unionist Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats - accepted a total of £62,638 in assistance paid directly to opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament.

The Labour Party accepted a total of £157,617 in Cranborne money, which is paid directly to opposition party in the House of Lords.

The Liberal Democrats accepted a total of £344,021 in Policy Development Grants, which are allocated according to a formula approved by the UK Parliament and distributed by the Electoral Commission.

BORROWING

Total outstanding borrowing by party as at 30 September 2011 (not including partial repayments)

Party Loans Credit facilities Connected transaction
Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship" £200,00 £0 £0
Conservative and Unionist Party £2,675,769 £10,204,000 £10,000
English Democrats Party £108,041 £0 £0
Jury Team (de-registered) £519,056 £20,000 £0
Labour Party £9,857,970 £4,257,000 £600,000
Liberal Democrats £432,572 £1,042,000 £40,000
Pensioners Party £8,436 £0 £0
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales £9,413 £350,000 £0
Scottish National Party (SNP) £514,503 £7,500 £0
Scottish Socialist Party £63,000 £10,000 £0
Scottish Voice £200,000 £0 £0
Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement £13,500 £0 £0
The People's Party for Better Government £7,800 £0 £0
The Progressive Party £100,000 £5,000 £105,000
The Respect Party £18,417 £0 £0
UK Independence Party (UK I P) £61,520 £0 £0
Total £14,789,996 £15,895,500 £755,000

 New loans in Quarter three 2011

Party Total amount of new loans
Conservative and Unionist Party £14,300
Labour Party £1,600
Liberal Democrats £3,000
Scottish National Party (SNP) £110,000
Total new loans £128,900

Further details including the date when loan was entered into, date repayable, interest rate (whether fixed, variable or nil), whether security was given and details of the lender are available on the Electoral Commission website.

Loans repaid in full or converted to donations in quarter three 2011

Party Loans converted to donations (including partial conversion) Loans repaid in full
Labour Party £0 £18,000
Liberal Democrats £13,283 £2,000
Scottish National Party (SNP) £0 £235,000
Total loans repaid £13,283 £255,000

Changes to terms and conditions of borrowings (such as changes to interest rate and repayment or review date) must be reported to the Electoral Commission. These details are available to view on the Commission website.

There were no new credit facilities taken out in Qaurter three 2011.

Extinguishing of pre-existing credit facilities in qaurter three 2011

Party Amount
Conservative and Unionist Party £5,000
Scottish National Party (SNP) £100,000
Total £105,000

The Scottish National Party (SNP) brought to an end a connected transaction, or guarantee, of £190,000.

New loans reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters

Party Loans total Number of loans
Conservative and Unionist Party £14,000 1
Liberal Democrats £37,500 1
Total loans reported late £51,000 2

The Liberal Democrats also reported one change to the conditions of a pre-existing loan in quarter three which they should have reported in a previous quarter.

 

Journalist