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Financial accounts for smaller political parties published

Published: 26 May 2011

The Electoral Commission – the independent elections watchdog – has published the latest financial accounts of UK political parties and accounting units with income and expenditure of £250,000 or less in the year ending 31 December 2010.

The period includes the UK general election as well as local elections in England and Wales on 6 May 2010. The deadline for parties and accounting units with income or expenditure of more than £250,000 to submit their accounts is 7 July, and the Commission will publish those accounts at the end of July.

Altogether, these smaller political parties and accounting units had an income of £37,167,808 and expenditure of £39,518,343 in 2010.

Party income and expenditure

A total of 343 parties reported having gross income and total expenditure of £250,000 or less in 2010.

  • Altogether, these 343 parties reported a total of £1,493,418 income and £1,768,664 expenditure.
  • Four parties reported either income or expenditure between £100,000 and £250,000:

 
 

Party

Income

Expenditure

Alliance-Alliance Party of Northern Ireland

£209,106

£205,138

Communist Party of Great Britain

£112,660

£114,333

Jury Team

£49,154

£228,072

Scottish Green Party

£125,572

£114,333

  • The remaining 339 parties had income and expenditure of less than £100,000 in 2010.

Accounting unit income and expenditure

Political parties may register 'accounting units’ with the Electoral Commission. These are constituent or affiliated units of a political party, including constituency parties.

  • 616 accounting units reported income or expenditure between £25,000 and £250,000. Accounting units whose gross income and total expenditure are both below £25,000 do not have to submit accounts.
  • Altogether, these 616 accounting units reported a total of £35,716,345 income and £37,789,795 expenditure.

Late submissions

The submission deadline for parties and accounting units with income and expenditure of under £250,000 was 30 April. The Commission received accounts from twenty-six parties and eleven accounting units after this deadline.

Thirty-four parties that were due to submit by this deadline have yet to submit their accounts to the Commission.  Where a party or accounting unit fails to submit on time, the Commission may issue them with a sanction. The Commission will assess each case in line with our Enforcement Policy.

Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission, said:

“The accounts we have published today cover the period including a UK general election, where thousands of candidates stood for election representing 138 different political parties. Publishing these financial accounts means voters have access to information about the parties they vote for.

“It is important that all political parties – large and small – ensure that they comply with the law and ensure their finances are transparent.

“We work hard to give the staff and volunteers that run these parties the support they need to comply with the law, including issuing clear and comprehensive guidance and  offering advice when they have queries.

“For breaches of the law that have occurred since December 2010 we are able to apply a wider range of sanctions where parties don’t comply with the law.  We will now consider whether to use these sanctions against parties that have not submitted information about their finances as required by law.”

 

For further information please contact:

Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
outside 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.

2. The Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act 2000 requires that parties with a gross income and expenditure of £250,000 or less (and their accounting units with a gross income or expenditure in excess of £25,000 and below £250,000), and whose financial year ends on 31 December, submit an annual statement of accounts to The Electoral Commission by 30 April and for more than that sum by 7 July.

3. 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.

4. 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 here: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/enforcement

5. Accounting units with income and expenditure that are both £25,000 or less are not required to submit their accounts.

6. 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. The 14 parties we expect to report gross income and expenditure above £250,000 are:

In Great Britain -

  • British National Party
  • Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"
  • Co-operative Party [The]
  • Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Green Party
  • Labour Party
  • Liberal Democrats
  • Plaid Cymru – Party of Wales [The]
  • Scottish National Party (SNP)

In Northern Ireland –

  • Conservative and Unionist Party [The]
  • Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.
  • SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party)
  • Sinn Féin
  • Ulster Unionist Party

7. The fact that a Statement of Accounts has been placed on the Commission’s website should not be taken to indicate that the Electoral Commission has verified or validated it in any way.

Journalist