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Political parties’ latest donations and borrowing figures published

News release published: 25-05-2011

Ten political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting over £8.8 million in donations between 1 January and 31 March 2011, according to new figures published by the Electoral Commission, the independent party funding watchdog.

During the first quarter of 2011, six parties also received payments from public funds totalling just over £2.1 million.

As at 31 March 2011, the total loans entered into by parties stood at just under £14.8 million, credit facilities (such as overdrafts) at £18.4 million and connected transactions (such as guarantees) at £945,000.

The Commission’s role in relation to donations and loans that are reported late changed from 1 December 2010 with the introduction of new powers and sanctions (see Notes to Editor 6).

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

Donations

  • Ten political parties reported donations totalling £8,831,135 (excluding public funds) accepted between 1 January and 31 March.
  • The three political parties to accept the most in donations were:
    • Conservative and Unionist Party - £3,878,324
    • Labour Party - £2,882,765
    • Liberal Democrats - £810,029
  • Six parties also received a total of £2,148,173 in public funds.
  • Seven political parties reported 75 donations totalling £1,696,967 in this quarter that they should have reported in previous quarters.  The parties were:
    •  Labour Party – two donations received by the central office totalling £1,001,180 and four to accounting units totalling £26,698;
    • Conservative and Unionist Party - seven donations to the central office totalling £129,121 and 19 donations to accounting units totalling £136,424;
    • Trust – four donations to the central party totalling £140,000;
    • Liberal Democrats: two donations to the central office totalling £7,881 and 27 donations to accounting units totalling £108,894;
    • Co-operative Party [The] – one donation to the central party reported late, totalling £106,500;
    • Green Party - six donations to the central party reported late, totalling £36,270;
    • UK Independence Party (UK I P) - three donations to accounting units, totalling £4,000.
  • Failing to report donations on time is a breach of the rules on party funding. Although before 1 December 2010 we had no power to sanction parties with regards to this offence, we can now impose sanctions for all donations that had to be reported after that date. Thirty-three of the 75 donations reported late in quarter 1 2011 fall into this period and we will assess each case in line with our Enforcement Policy.
  • Twelve of the 386 registered parties did not provide their required donation return before the statutory deadline.   As explained above, we will assess each potential breach in line with our Enforcement Policy.

Borrowing

  • The total amount of loans outstanding at 31 March 2011 was £14,784,684.
  • Five parties entered into new loans totaling £204,020.
  • The total amount of repaid loans reported (including loans converted to donations) was £41,181.
  • One party reported entering a new credit facility of £120,000.
  • Two parties reported reducing the money available through credit facilities by £166,000.
  • The Liberal Democrats reported one new loan of £3,000, full repayments of 13 loans totalling £41,974, partial conversion of two loans totalling £1,500 which should have been reported in previous quarters.
  • The total amount currently available through credit facilities is £18,362,000.
  • The Conservative and Unionist Party reported one new credit facility of £200,000 which should have been reported in a previous quarter.
  • The Labour Party reported late the full repayment of one loan of £21,000.
  • Trust reported late three new credit facilities totalling £120,000 and the conversion of four credit facilities to donations totalling £140,000.
  • Among the late-reported borrowing, one new loan, five full repayments and one partial conversion took place took place between October and December 2010.  We now have the power to sanction this offence and each case of apparent late reporting will be assessed in line with our Enforcement Policy as this applies to borrowing that had to be reported after 1 December 2010.
  • Thirteen out of the 386 registered parties did not provide their required borrowing return before the statutory deadline. We will assess each potential breach in line with our Enforcement Policy.

Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said:
“People should be able to access accurate and up to date information about how parties are funded. It is extremely disappointing to see such a significant value of donations and loans reported late this quarter, with one very large donation in particular, especially because voters should have had this information ahead of the elections earlier this month. The Commission now has greater scope to sanction late reporting of donations and parties need to make more efforts to report donations on time. We will be contacting parties who report late and, where appropriate, imposing sanctions as our new powers now allow.”

A summary of the donations and borrowing declared in the first 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 first quarter of 2011 is also available at: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding/Q1-2011

/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. If a party, without reasonable excuse, submits a donation or loan return late, we can use a range of sanctions in relation to the late reporting including issuing a fixed monetary penalty of £200. The level of fixed monetary penalties has been set by Parliament and is payable after an initial and final notice have been issued. The Electoral Commission enforcement policy is at http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/106743/Enforcement-Policy-30March11.pdf. Other sanctions are available and include variable monetary penalties of up to £5,000 for this type of breach.
6. The new powers granted to the Commission by the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 came to force on 1 December 2010. A party commits an offence if, without a reasonable excuse, fails to report donations or loans in the quarter in which they were received. 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 one as set out in 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. More information can be found in the Enforcement Policy on our website: http://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: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding/Q1-2011
8. 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.
9. To access all accounts of parties and accounting units from 2002, please visit http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/PEF-online-registers/statements-of-account
10. The figures reported for donations and borrowing have been rounded to the nearest £. Exact figures are available on our website.
11. Table of donations and borrowing reported in quarter 1 2011 which should have been reported previously can be accessed through our analysis page: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding/Q1-2011
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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 quarter 1 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 one 2011

8,831,135

2,148,173

10,979,308

Quarter four 2010

6,779,000

4,097,105

10,876,105

Quarter three 2010

7,421,062

742,771

8,163,833

Quarter two 2010

27,626,233

1,095,452

28,721,685

Total

50,657,430

8,083,501

58,740,931

 

Donations to political parties accepted in quarter one 2011

 

Party

Donations excluding public funds (£) Public funds (£)

Total accepted in quarter one 2011

Christian Peoples Alliance

10,000

0

10,000

Conservative and Unionist Party

3,878

361,547

4,239,871

Co-operative Party [The]

400,750

0

400,750

Green Party

101,830

13,602

115,432

Labour Party

2,882,765

1,692,517

4,575,283

Liberal Democrats

810,029

23,023

833,052

Plaid Cymru- Party of Wales [The]

27,067

16,453

43,520

Scottish Green Party

10,000

0

10,000

Scottish National Party (SNP)

654,409

41,031

695,440

UK Independence Party {UK IP}

55,960

0

55,960

Total

8,831,135

2,148,173

10,979,308

Donations identified as being from impermissible sources

Party

Identified by party (£)

Number of donations

Conservative and Unionist Party

700

1

Labour Party

1,200

1

UP Independence Party (UK IP)

1,000

1

Total impermissable donations

2,900

3

Donations accepted in previous quarters and reported late this quarter

Donations reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters totalled £1,696,967 

Party Accounting unit National Party
Number Value Number  Value (£)
Conservative and Unionist Party

19

136,424

7

129,121

Co-operative Party [The]

0

0

1

106,500

Green Party

0

0

6

36,270

Labour Party

4

26,698

2

 

Liberal Democrats

27

108,894

2

7,881

 Trust

 0

0 4

 140,00

UK Independence Party (UK IP)

3

4,000

0

0

Total

53

276,016

22

1,420,952

Of these donations reported late, the ones below should have been reported after 1 December 2010 and each case will therefore be assessed under our Enforcement Policy to establish whether a sanction should be imposed:

Party Accounting unit National Party
Number Value Number  Value (£)
Conservative and Unionist Party

2

5,105

4

24,021

Co-operative Party [The]

0

0

1

106,500

Green Party

0

0

3

13,601

Labour Party

1

20,000

0

0

Liberal Democrats

17

60,158

2

7,881

UP Independence Party (UK IP)

3

4,000

0

0

Total

23

89,263

10

152,003

Public funds

Party Accounting unit National Party
Number Value Number  Value (£)
Conservative and Unionist Party

2

5,105

4

24,021

Co-operative Party [The]

0

0

1

106,500

Green Party

0

0

3

13,601

Labour Party

1

20,000

0

0

Liberal Democrats

17

60,158

2

7,881

UP Independence Party (UK IP)

3

4,000

0

0

Total

23

89,263

10

152,003

Public funds

The Labour Party, Green Party, Plaid Cymru-Party of Wales [The] and the Scottish National Party (SNP) accepted a total of £1,453,008 in Short money, which the UK Parliament pays directly to opposition parties in the House of Commons.

The Conservative and Unionist Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats accepted a total of £150,489 in assistance paid directly to opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament.

The Labour Party accepted a total of £202,217 in Cranborne money, which is paid directly to opposition parties in the House of Lords.

The Conservative and Unionist Party accepted a total of £342,459 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 31 March 2011 (not including partial repayments)

 

Party

Loans (£) Credit facilities (£)

Connected transaction (£)

Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"

200,000

0

0

Conservative and Unionist Party

2,612,497

10,349,000

10,000

English Democrats Party

108,041

0

0

Jury Team

519,056

20,000

0

Labour Party

9,836,512

6,209,000

600,000

Liberal Democrats

416,989

1,042,000

40,000

Pensioners Party

8,436

0

0

People's Party for Better Government [The]

7,800

0

0

Plaid Cymru-Party of Wales [The]

9,413

420,000

0

Progressive Party [The]

100,000

5,000

105,000

Respect Party [The]

18,417

0

0

Scottish National Party (SNP)

609,503

307,000

190,000

Scottish Socialist Party

63,000

10,000

0

Scottish Voice

200,000

0

0

Solidarity-Scotland's Socialist Movement

13,500

0

0

Trust

0

0

0

UK Independence Party (UK IP)

61,520

0

0

Total

14,784,684

18,362,000

945,000

New loans in quarter one 2011

Party

Total amount of new loans (£)

Conservative and Unionist Party

10,000

Labour Party

3,000

Liberal Democrats

4,500

Scottish National Party (SNP)

125,000

UK Independence Party (UK IP)

61,520

Total new loans

204,020

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

Loans repaid in full or converted to donation in quarter one 2011

Party

Loans converted to donations (including partial conversion) (£)

Loans repaid in full (£)

Conservative and Unionist Party

0

3,000

Liberal Democrats

23,001

5,180

Scottish National Party (SNP)

10,000

0

Total loans repaid

33,001

8,180

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.

New credit facilities in quarter one 2011

Party

Amount

Plaid Cymru-Party of Wales [The]

120,000

Total

120,000

Reduction to pre-existing credit facilities in quarter one 2011

Party

Increase (£)

Conservative and Unionist Party

150,000

Liberal Democrats

16,000

Total

166,000

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

Party

Loans total (£)

Number of Loans

Liberal Democrats

3,000

1

Total loans reported late

3,000

1

Full repayment or full/partial conversion of loans reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters

Party

Loans total (£)

Number of Loans

Conservative and Unionist Party

9,806

1

Labour Party

21,000

1

Liberal Democrats

43,474

15

Total reported late

74,280

17

New credit facilities reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters
 

Party

Credit facilities total (£)

Number of credit facilities

Conservative and Unionist Party

200,000

1

Trust

120,000

3

Total credit facilities reported late

320,000

4

Extinguishing of credit facilities reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters

Party

Credit facilities total (£)

Number of credit facilities

Trust

140,000

4

Total credit facilities extinguished reported late

140,000

4

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