15 political parties registered in Great Britain reported over £19m in donations and public funds in the third quarter of 2019, July to September, according to new figures published today by the Electoral Commission. This is over £4.29m more than the amount reported in the previous quarter, between April and June 2019.
Political parties are required to submit quarterly donation and loan returns to the Electoral Commission. Within these returns, parties report:
- donations accepted above the £7,500 threshold (£1,500 for accounting units)
- smaller donations from a single donor 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 the action taken in relation to these.
As a result of impermissible donations being returned and some donations being reported late, the amount reported by a party in a quarterly return may exceed the total accepted.
The 15 political parties reported donations including public funds between 1 July and 30 September 2019 were:
|Party||Total reported||Donations accepted (excl. public funds)||Public funds accepted||Total accepted|
|Conservative and Unionist Party||£5,805,980||£5,338,696||£424,749||£5,763,445|
|Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales||£141,531||£0||£141,531||£141,531|
|Scottish Green Party||£3,041||£0||£3,041||£3,041|
|Scottish National Party (SNP)||£332,662||£130,738||£201,924||£332,662|
|The Brexit Party||£3,390,000||£3,390,000||£0||£3,390,000|
|The Independent Group for Change||£8,332||£8,332||£0||£8,832|
|The Liberal Party||£28,000||£28,000||£0||£28,000|
|UK Independence Party (UKIP)||£168,501||£168,501||£0||£161,501|
|Women's Equality Party||£59,000||£59,000||£0||£59,000|
Seven parties accepted a total of more than £3.8m in public funds.
The totals published today 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.
Eight parties failed to meet the reporting deadline for this quarter. The Commission will consider each of these matters in line with its Enforcement Policy and publish any sanctions applied at a later date.
The value of new loans to political parties in Great Britain as of 30 September 2019 in the third quarter of 2019 was £15,450. Loans with a value of £16,379 were paid off in the third quarter of 2019. Loans with a value of £5,000 were fully converted to donations in the third quarter of 2019.
Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation at the Electoral Commission, said:
“Publishing data about party donations and loans on our online database means voters can clearly see where political parties receive their funds from. This leads to a more trusted and transparent political finance system and helps ensure compliance.
“Where parties fail to deliver their return on time, and there is no reasonable explanation for such a failure, we will take a robust approach in dealing with this in line with our Enforcement Policy.”
Donations accepted by regulated donees in Q3 2019
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 third quarter of 2019, 224 donations were accepted by 126 donees. The total includes cash and non-cash donations, as well as donations towards overseas visits. Full details are available.
|Type of regulated donee||Value of cash and non-cash donations accepted||Value of donations accepted towards overseas visits||Total value of donations accepted|
|Councillor - member of a local authority||£2,000||£8,500||£10,500|
|Member of a registered political party||£26,000||£7,000||£33,000|
|Member of the Legislative Authority of Northern Ireland (MLA)||£0||£8,500||£8,500|
|Member of Parliament (MP)||£890,329||£218,307||£1,108,636|
A summary of donations reported by GB parties in the third quarter of 2019, including the highest donors and details of late reports, is available on the Commission’s website.
For information on donations and public funds reported by political parties and regulated donees in Northern Ireland, see our press release.
For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
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, focussing 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 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.
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.
Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Scottish Parliament 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 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.
There were 360 registered political parties in Great Britain during quarter three 2019. 68 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 59 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.
Members of Scottish Parliament report their accepted donations to the Register of Interests for the Scottish Parliament.
All other regulated donees report their donations directly to us. We then publish this information monthly as part of our role in providing greater transparency in political finance in the UK.
We are publishing information on donations over £7,500 received by political parties and non-party campaigners in the weeks leading up to the general election. Further information on those reports and their publication dates is available on page 27 of our media handbook.