04 May 2010
Fourteen political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting £19.26 million in donations in the last full quarter (January to March 2010) before the general election, according to new figures published by the Electoral Commission.
The independent party funding watchdog has published the key figures at an earlier date than usual, so that the information is in the public domain before polling day. Further details will be published in the last week of May.
During the same quarter, five of the parties also received payments from public funds totalling just over £2.2 million.
In addition, parties reported 75 donations – totalling £226,014 – in this quarter that they should have reported in previous quarters.
As at 31 March 2010, political parties had loans outstanding totalling just under £15.1 million; credit facilities (such as overdrafts) at just over £18.2 million; and connected transactions (such as guarantees) at £945,000.
One party reported two credit facilities – totalling £150,000 – in this quarter that it should have reported in previous quarters.
The figures for donations and borrowing accepted in the first quarter of 2010 show that:
- Fourteen political parties reported accepting donations totalling £19,260,225 (excluding public funds) between 1 January and 31 March 2010.
- The three political parties to accept the most in donations were:
- Conservative Party - £12,357,714
- Labour Party - £4,072,432
- Liberal Democrats - £1,931,147
- Five parties also received a total of £2,211,200 in public funds.
- Five parties entered into new loans totalling £479,450.
- The total amount of loans repaid this quarter was £1,028,000.
- One party took out a new credit facility totalling £20,000 and one party reported £150,000 in credit facilities this quarter that they should have reported in previous quarters.
- One party ended a connected transaction of £7,500 and increased an existing connected transaction by £22,500.
A summary of the donations and borrowing declared in the first quarter of 2010 follows below. The spreadsheets with details of donations and borrowing are available here: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance. The Commission will update the searchable database of donations and register of borrowing by the end of May.
The law requires political parties to report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 to the central party, or over £1,500 to an accounting unit, to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis. All donations over £500 must be from a permissible source. These thresholds are a change from previous quarters. Therefore, direct comparisons with previous quarters are not possible.
There are separate rules for individual candidates, who must report donations that they receive to the Returning Officer for the constituency they are contesting, after the election. They are not required to report donations to the Electoral Commission.
Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said: “Political parties were required to submit donations and borrowing figures for this quarter by 30 April 2010. We usually publish this information around 20 working days after we receive it, once we have conducted our usual compliance checks.
“In the interests of transparency, we decided – in consultation with political parties – to bring forward publication on this occasion so that this information is available to voters before the UK general election. Because we are publishing the information early, the Commission has yet to carry out the usual compliance checks on returns.”
The Commission had not received donation reports from 12 parties and borrowing reports from 13 parties by the 30 April deadline. The Commission is contacting the parties that did not supply a donation or borrowing report to establish the reasons for this; they may face a fine.
In addition to this quarterly donation and borrowing report, political parties are also required to report donations and borrowing that they receive on a weekly basis during a UK general election period. The Commission will publish details of donations and borrowing received by political parties in the third week of the general election campaign separately, at 5pm today.
For further information contact:
The Electoral Commission press office on 0207 271 0704
Out of 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.
- The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires GB and NI registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and loans on a quarterly basis to the Electoral Commission.
- Prior to 1 January 2010 parties had to report any donation or loans above £5,000 made to the central party, or donations or loans exceeding £1,000 made to a local accounting unit.
- Since 1 January 2010 parties must report any donation or loans above £7,500 made to the central party, or donations or loans exceeding £1,500 made to a local accounting unit.
- Prior to 1 January 2010 parties could accept donations or enter into borrowing of over £200 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.
- Since 1 January 2010 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.
- From 1 November 2007 parties on the Northern Ireland register of political parties were required to conform to donation controls and from July 2008 with controls on loans. As required by the legislation, permissible donations and borrowing reported to us will not be published.
- The penalties for failure to submit statutory returns on time can be found at section 147 of PPERA, here:
- Quarter four 2009 figures on donations and borrowing were published by the Electoral Commission on 24 February 2010. The press release can be accessed at: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/news-and-media/news-releases
- The figures reported for donations and borrowing have been rounded to the nearest £. Exact figures are available on our website.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Donations to political parties accepted in quarter one 2010 (January to March)
|Party||Donations excluding public funds (£)||Public funds (£)||Donations total (£)|
|Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”||100,000||0||100,000|
|Christian Peoples Alliance||2,617||0||2,617|
|Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales||98,002||34,168||132,170|
|Scottish National Party||5,124||53,289||58,413|
|UK Independence Party||106,548||0||106,548|
Donations reported in this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters
|Party||Number of donations (accounting units)||Value of donations (£) (accounting units)||Number of donations (central party)||Value of donations (£) (central party)|
Total loans by party as at 31 March 2010 (not including partial repayments)
|Party||New loans (£)||Repaid loans (£)||Total loans outstanding (£)|
|Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”||0||0||150,000|
|English Democrats Party||0||0||108,041|
|People’s Party for Better Government||0||0||7,800|
|Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales||0||0||9,413|
|Scottish National Party||0||5,000||484,503|
|Scottish Socialist Party||0||0||63,000|
|Solidarity Scotland’s Socialist Movement||0||0||13,500|
|UK Independence Party||287,500||5,750||291,250|
|Party||New credit facilities (£)||Extended credit facilities (£)||Total credit facilities outstanding (£)|
|Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales||0||0||300,000|
|Scottish National Party||0||0||307,000|
|Scottish Socialist Party||0||0||10,000|
Credit facilities reported this quarter that should have been reported in previous quarters
|Party||Reported by||Number of credit facilities||Value of credit facilities (£)|
|Conservative Party||central party||2||150,000|
|Party||Increased connected transacations||Extinguished connected transactions||Total outstanding connected transactions (£)|
|Scottish National Party||0||0||190,000|
There were no new connected transactions reported in this quarter.