28 Jul 2011
The Electoral Commission – the independent elections watchdog – has today published the financial accounts of UK political parties and accounting units with gross income or total expenditure exceeding £250,000 for the year ending 31 December 2010.
The financial accounts cover the period in which the UK general election took place on 6 May 2010. These are the first set of accounts for the main political parties to be submitted since the Commission was given powers to use a wider range of sanctions when parties fail to comply with party finance rules.
The following 12 parties have submitted their 2010 accounts to the Commission:
|Political party||Income (£)||Expenditure (£)|
|Conservative and Unionist Party (GB)|| |
|Conservative and Unionist Party (NI) *|| |
|Co-operative Party [The]|| |
|Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P|| |
|Green Party|| |
|Labour Party|| |
|Liberal Democrats|| |
|Plaid Cymru - Party of Wales [The]|| |
|Scottish National Party (SNP)|| |
|SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party)|| |
|Sinn Féin|| |
|Ulster Unionist Party|| |
* The Conservative and Unionist Party are also registered to contest elections in Northern Ireland. A party registered in Northern Ireland must submit separate accounts to its GB registered counterpart.
The following 13 accounting units have submitted their 2010 accounts to the Commission:
- Conservative Party: Cities of London and Westminster
- Conservative Party: Finchley and Golders Green
- Conservative Party: Kensington, Chelsea and Fulham
- Conservative Party: Surrey Heath
- Conservative Party: Richmond Park
- Labour Party: Trade Union Liaison Organisation
- Labour Party: Scottish Labour Party
- Liberal Democrats: Parliamentary Office of the Liberal Democrats
- Liberal Democrats: England
- Liberal Democrats: Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors
- Liberal Democrats: Scottish Liberal Democrats
- UK Independence Party (UK I P): United Kingdom Independence Party Limited
- SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party): Parliamentary Assembly Group
The full statements of accounts are available at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/PEF-online-registers/statements-of-account
The following two parties failed to submit their accounts to the Commission
- British National Party
- Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”
The British National Party’s Regional Accounting Unit also failed to submit its accounts to the Commission.
The Commission is now reviewing the circumstances of these cases. Late submission of accounts without reasonable excuse is a breach of party funding rules.
The Commission has a range of sanctions enabling it to deal with those who do not comply with the rules. These include issuing substantial 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 what sanction is appropriate the Commission considers a range of factors including whether parties have failed to comply with their obligations in the past. Repeated non-compliance is an aggravating factor which can significantly increase the penalties issued.
Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said:
“The rules on party funding are intended to ensure that voters can see where political parties get their funding from, and how they spend it. The 2010 statements of accounts which we have published today help to provide transparency about the finances of the larger parties and their organisations, covering the period during which the campaigns for the 2010 UK general and local elections took place.”
“The majority of parties and accounting units have complied with the law by submitting their accounts on time. However, despite the guidance and advice we offer to help parties comply with the law, two parties have yet again failed to provide accounts on time. This is not acceptable. We have commenced formal case reviews into the circumstances; if we are satisfied that the rules have been broken and the parties concerned do not have a reasonable excuse, we will use our new powers to impose sanctions in accordance with our published enforcement policy, to ensure future compliance with the law.”
The Commission published the financial accounts of 343 political parties and 616 accounting units whose gross income and total expenditure were £250,000 or less on 26 May 2010. They can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website.
The Commission also publishes trends in parties' income, expenditure and net assets. The figures from 2003 to 2010 are available on our website
For further information please contact:
Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
outside office hours 07789 920414
Notes to editors
- 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 and set standards for well-run elections.
- Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) political parties may register accounting units with the Electoral Commission. An accounting unit is a constituent or affiliated organisation of a political party and is responsible for its own financial affairs and transactions.
- PPERA requires that parties and accounting units with a gross income or total expenditure in excess of £250,000 are given six months from year end to prepare their accounts and have them independently audited.
- The 2010 statements of accounts for parties and accounting units with a gross income or expenditure in excess of £250,000 were due with the Electoral Commission by Thursday 7 July 2010, unless an extension was granted. Each of these statements of accounts must be audited by a qualified auditor and an audit certificate submitted with the statement of accounts.
- The Commission is responsible for making the annual statements of accounts public. It also checks statements of accounts to identify discrepancies with any other information we hold, such as donation, borrowing and campaign spending reports. This allows us to see if they are fulfilling their obligations and take further action where necessary.
- The Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 gave the Commission a new set of sanctions to apply for breaches of party funding law that take place after 1 December 2010. These include fixed and variable monetary penalties, compliance notices, stop notices and restoration notices. The Commission’s Enforcement Policy, and further information, can be found at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/enforcement
- Accounting units with income and expenditure that are both £25,000 or less are not required to submit their accounts.
- There were 374 political parties registered with the Electoral Commission at the end of 2010 whose financial year-end was 31 December. We maintain two registers of political parties, one for Great Britain and one for Northern Ireland.
- Whilst the Commission is reviewing the submitted accounts to establish whether any follow-up action is necessary, the fact that a Statement of Account has been placed on the public record should not necessarily be taken to indicate that the Commission has verified or validated it in any way.