The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Electoral Commission releases UK Parliamentary General Election campaign expenditure returns of more than £250,000

Published: 20 Jan 2016

The Electoral Commission has today published the campaign expenditure returns of the six political parties that spent £250,000 or more on campaigning at the 2015 UK Parliamentary General Election.

Any political party that stood more than one candidate at the election was required to submit a campaign expenditure return to the Commission. The release of today's information means there was a total reported spend of £39,023,564 at the 2015 General Election by a combination of 57 parties and 23 non-party campaigners. Reported spending for parties does not cover some costs (e.g. staffing) and candidate spending is reported separately. In comparison, at the General Election in 2010 there was £34,463,890 of reported party spending by 40 parties and 24 non-party campaigners.

Of the total amount spent on campaigning during the regulated period for the General Election - which ran from 23 May 2014 to polling day (Thursday 7 May 2015) - six political parties reported spending a total of £36,662,363 (94% of the total). This compares to £30.9 million spent by the same six parties in 2010.

The campaign expenditure of political parties and non-party campaigners that spent £250,000 or less was published in September

Campaign expenditure of £250,000 or more

The table below shows the six political parties with campaign expenditure over £250,000 at the General Election. Details of all of the submitted returns, including those parties that spent under £250,000, are available on the Commission's website.

Party Name Expenditure
Conservative Party £15,587,956
Labour Party £12,087,340
Liberal Democrats £3,529,106
UK Independence Party £2,851,465
Scottish National Party £1,475,478
Green Party £1,131,018

For a visual breakdown of the figures, see our website.

Expenditure Breakdown

In addition to reporting their overall expenditure, the political parties were required to allocate all spending against one of nine categories. Details by category, as well as copies of individual invoices and receipts, can be found on the Commission's website. The Electoral Commission will publish a more detailed analysis of party spending at the 2015 General Election next month, which will highlight more detailed information.


For more information, please contact:

Lisa Camps at 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 and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulation of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).
  2. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000) introduced controls on campaign expenditure by political parties contesting UK Parliamentary elections. Parties with expenditure over £250,000 were required to deliver an audited report to the Commission within six months of the election (7 November 2015). Parties with expenditure below £250,000 had to deliver a report to the Commission within three months of the election.
  3. No non-party campaigners spent over £250,000 at the UK Parliamentary General Election.
  4. Non-party campaigners had to register with the Commission if they planned to spend more than £20,000 on campaigning in England, or £10,000 in any of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and were required to submit an expenditure return if they campaigned and spent over these sums of money at the UK Parliamentary General election.
  5. The Electoral Commission will shortly publish a more detailed report on spending at the 2015 General Election, which will include analysis of expenditure against national spending limits, any observable changes since previous General Elections, and trends in the different categories of expenditure.
  6. Details of candidate expenditure at the 2015 General Election will be released in the Spring.
  7. Figures in this press release are rounded.
  8. The following spending does not count as campaign spending for parties so is not required to be reported-
    • Permanent, fixed term or temporary staff costs where the staff member has a direct employment contract with the party.
    • Volunteer time
    • Office running costs
    • People's travel, food and accommodation costs while they campaign, unless you reimburse them
    • Expenses met out of public funds. For example, security costs for VIP visits
    • Anything which a candidate declares on their spending return