The Electoral Commission

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

Section menu

Latest figures for political party donations and loans in Great Britain published

Published: 27 Feb 2019

Thirteen political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of £10,401,823 in donations between 1 October and 31 December 2018, according to new figures published today by the Electoral Commission. This is £1.9m more than the amount reported in the previous quarter, between 1 July and 30 September 2018 (£8,470,582).

Across 2018 as a whole, 18 political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of £34.5 million excluding public funds. This is £28.1 million less than in 2017 (£62.6 million) when there was a general election.

The 13 political parties to report donations in the final quarter of the 2018 were:
PartyDonations excluding public fundsPublic fundsTotal accepted in quarter 4 2018
Ashfield Independents£7,200-£7,200
Conservative and Unionist Party£7,396,361£65,845 £7,462,205
Co-operative Party£44,705 -£44,705
Duma Polska = Polish Pride£8,700-£8,700
Green Party£73,870£27,611£101,481
Labour Party£1,606,597£2,131,978£3,738,575
Liberal Democrats£950,272£249,937£1,200,209
Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales£10,722£24,928£35,649
Renew£53,000-£53,000
Scottish Green Party£48,541-£48,541
Scottish National Party (SNP)£15,240£197,772£213,012
UK Independence Party (UKIP)£13,000-£13,000
Women's Equality Party£173,616-£173,616
Totals£10,401,823 £2,698,071£13,099,894
In addition to these donations, during the fourth quarter of 2018 six parties accepted a total of more than £2.6 million in public funds (details in the table above).

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 substantive sources of income for parties.

Nine parties failed to meet the deadline for reporting 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.

Borrowing

The value of outstanding loans to political parties in Great Britain as of 31 December 2018 stood at £3,492,124 which is a decrease of almost £5,000 compared with 31 December 2017 (£3,497,076).

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.”

Further information

A summary of donations reported by GB parties in the fourth quarter of 2018, 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 in Northern Ireland, see our press release.

Full details of donations and loans are available on our registers.

Ends

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5.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.

6. There were 356 registered political parties in Great Britain during quarter four 2018. 72 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 66 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.

7. The figures reported for quarterly donations and borrowing have been rounded. The exact figures are available on our website.

Journalist