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Political parties' latest donations and borrowing figures published

Published: 22 May 2012

Ten political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of almost £9 million in donations between 1 January and 31 March 2012, according to new figures published by the Electoral Commission, the independent party funding watchdog.

The three political parties to accept the most in donations were:

  • Conservative and Unionist Party - £4,086,097
  • Labour Party - £3,452,441
  • Liberal Democrats - £606,724

During the first quarter of 2012, six parties accepted donations from public funds of just over £850,000 (see Notes to Editors).

The total amount of outstanding loans to political parties as at 31 March 2012 was £14,634,772.

Political parties accepted £1.9 million more in donations during the first three months of this year compared with the last quarter of 2011.

An analysis of donations reported in the first quarter of 2012, including top donors and donor type is available at: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/party-finance/party-finance-analysis/party-funding/party-finance-analysis-Q1-2012

Full details of all donations and loans are available on our registers at:

Read our summary of Q1 donations and loans here.


For further information contact:

The Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704
Out of office hours 07789 920414 

Notes to Editor

  1. Putting voters first. The Electoral Commission is an independent body set up by the UK Parliament. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections. We work to support a healthy democracy, where elections and referendums are based on our principles of trust, participation and no undue influence.
  2. The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) requires GB and NI registered parties to report cash and non-cash donations and borrowing on a quarterly basis to the Electoral Commission. Political parties must report all donations and borrowing over £7,500 to the central party, or over £1,500 to an accounting unit, to the Electoral Commission. This includes aggregates of donations and loans from the same source. Prior to 1 January 2010, these thresholds were £5,000 and £1,000, respectively. Donations under these thresholds are recorded in political parties annual Statement of Accounts.
  3. Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Electoral Commission. ‘Short’ and ‘Cranborne’ grants are available to parties in opposition in the House of Commons or House of Lords respectively.
  4. 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.
  5. A party commits an offence if, without a reasonable excuse, it fails to report donations or loans in the quarter in which they were accepted. Sanctions apply only to those donations and loans that have had to be reported since 1 December 2010. Where we establish that an offence has been committed, we will consider both mitigating and aggravating factors to determine whether to issue a sanction and if so, the most appropriate in line with our Enforcement Policy. The sanctions we can apply include a fixed monetary penalty of £200, a variable monetary penalty between £250-£20,000, or a compliance notice requiring particular action by the party.
  6. More information on our enforcement policy can be found at www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/106743/Enforcement-Policy-30March11.pdf
  7. The figures reported for donations and borrowing have been rounded to the nearest £. Exact figures are available on our website.