Latest political party donations
Six political parties registered in Northern Ireland reported accepting a total of £270,874 in donations and public funds in the first quarter of 2019, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission. This was £73,404 less than the previous quarter, between 1 October and 31 December 2018.
Political parties must submit quarterly donation and loan returns. Within these returns, parties report:
- donations accepted above the £7,500 threshold (£1,500 to accounting units)
- smaller donations which add together to exceed the reporting threshold
- donations which ought to have been reported in previous quarters; and
- impermissible donations they have received and action taken by the party in relation to these.
As a result, this can lead to the amount reported by a party in a quarterly return exceeding the total accepted in a quarter by that party.
The six political parties to report donations and public funds were:
|Party||Total reported in Q1 2019||Donations accepted in Q1 2019 (excluding public funds)||Public funds accepted in Q1 2019||Total accepted in Q1 2019|
|Alliance - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland||£20,739||£0||£20,739||£20,739|
|Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.||£89,588||£0||£89,588||£89,588|
|SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party)||£32,509||£0||£32,509||£32,509|
|Ulster Unionist Party||£25,307||£2,000||£23,307||£25,307|
The totals published today and set out above represent the sum of those donations large enough to be above the reporting thresholds. Parties will likely have received other donations from different individuals or bodies that are below the thresholds for reporting to the Commission. Taken as a total sum these can amount to substantial sources of income for parties.
The Democratic Unionist Party reported a change of £100,000 in its credit facility. This was reported in Q4 2018 but is being published today.
Ann Watt, Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland, said:
The political party donations and loans data that we have published allows voters to clearly see how parties in Northern Ireland are funded. This transparency helps to enhance public confidence and trust in our democratic process.
Donations reported by regulated donees
The Commission also publishes donations accepted by regulated donees on a monthly basis. Regulated donees are members of registered political parties, holders of relevant elective office and members associations.
In the first quarter of 2019, £13,776 of donations were accepted by three donees. Full details are available on our website.
|Type of regulated donee||Value of cash and non-cash donations accepted in Q1 2019||Value of donations towards overseas visits accepted in Q1 2019||Total value of donations accepted in Q1 2019|
|Member of a Northern Ireland Registered Political Party||£0||£3,776||£3,776|
|Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly||£0||£10,000||£10,000|
A summary of donations reported by Northern Ireland parties in the first quarter of 2019, including the highest donors and details of late reports, is available on the Commission’s website.
We have also published the first quarter donations and loans for parties in Great Britain today. A press release is ;available on our website.
Full details of donations and public funds for political parties in Northern Ireland are available on our registers and full details of donations and public funds for political parties in Great Britain are available on our registers.
For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office:
- 028 9089 4023 (Out of office hours: 07789 920 414)
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK. We work to promote public confidence in the democratic process and ensure its integrity by:
- enabling the delivery of free and fair elections and referendums, focusing on the needs of electors and addressing the changing environment to ensure every vote remains secure and accessible
- regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
- using our expertise to make and advocate for changes to our democracy, aiming to improve fairness, transparency and efficiency.
The Commission was set up in 2000 and reports to the UK and Scottish Parliaments.
- The Transparency of Donations and Loans etc. (Northern Ireland Political Parties) Order 2018 allows the Commission to publish information about donations and loans reported by Northern Ireland political parties and other regulated entities from 1 July 2017 onwards.
- The Commission continues to urge the Government to bring forward the necessary legislation to enable it to publish information about political donations and loans in Northern Ireland from January 2014, rather than only from July 2017 as is currently the case.
- The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and borrowing to the Electoral Commission on a quarterly basis. Political parties must report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 relating to the central party, or over £1,500 relating to an accounting unit. This includes aggregates of donations and loans from the same source during the calendar year. Once the central party has reported a donation or aggregate donation over £7,500 it must report each subsequent donation of more than £1,500 from that source.
- As the parties only report donations and loans over these thresholds, the figures do not include all donations and loans to political parties. Donations and loans under these thresholds are recorded in political parties’ annual Statements of Accounts. To view these accounts, visit our register here.
- Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Electoral Commission. ‘Short’ and ‘Cranborne’ grants are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons or 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 the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 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 all eligible political parties 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.
- Figures for income and expenditure have been rounded. Please see online database for exact amounts.
- There were 33 registered political parties in Northern Ireland during quarter one 2019. 14 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and nine to submit borrowing information within the deadline. The remaining political parties were exempt (unless they received donations) because they have previously submitted four consecutive nil returns.
- The figures reported for quarterly donations and borrowing have been rounded. The exact figures are available on our website.
- More information on what constitutes a regulated donee and their legal reporting requirements is available on our website.
- Members of Parliament report their accepted donations to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests.
- All other regulated donees report their donations directly to us. We then publish this information monthly as part of our role in providing transparency in political finance in the UK.