Latest UK political party donations and loans

Summary

17 political parties registered in Great Britain and Northern Ireland reported accepting a total of £11,791,103 in donations and public funds in the first quarter of 2020, (January to March), according to figures published by the Electoral Commission. This compares to £9,167,639 ‬in donations reported in the first quarter of 2019. 

Commenting on the information published today, Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation, said: 

“Publishing this data allows voters to see clearly how parties in the United Kingdom are being funded, enhancing public confidence and trust in our democratic processes.

“We welcome the fact that many parties have delivered their donation reports to us on time despite the current challenging circumstances caused by Covid-19. Where parties were unable to meet the deadline for reasons relating to the pandemic, we will continue to work with them to ensure transparency of their donations.” 

The 17 political parties that reported donations including public funds between 1 January and 31 March 2020 were: 
 

PartyTotal reportedDonation accepted (excl. public funds)Public funds acceptedTotal accepted in this quarter
Alliance - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland£16,922£0£16,922£16,922
Animal Welfare Party£20,000£20,000£0£20,000
Democratic Unionist Party£147,514£0£147,514£147,514
Conservative and Unionist Party£4,044,630£3,847,413£89,900£3,937,313
Green Party (Great Britain)£78,880£35,611£43,269£78,880
Green Party (Northern Ireland)£11,494£0£11,494£11,494
Labour Party£3,889,692£1,955,058£1,819,519£3,774,577
Liberal Democrats£1,271,913£766,180£356,119£1,112,300
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales£31,834£0£31,834£31,834
Renew£15,128£15,128£0£15,128
Scottish Green Party£52,268£0£0£0
Scottish National Party (SNP)£418,305£93,623£324,682£418,305
SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party)£47,905£0£47,905£47,905
Sinn Féin£182,421£100,000£82,421£182,421
The Brexit Party£1,955,000£1,955,000£0£1,955,000
Ulster Unionist Party£23,510£0£23,510£23,510
Women's Equality Party£8,000£8,000£0£8,000
Total£12,215,416£8,796,013£2,995,089£11,791,103

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.
Ten parties failed to meet the reporting deadline for this quarter. The Commission will consider each of these matters, as well as donations reported late, in line with its Enforcement Policy, if appropriate, and publish any sanctions applied at a later date. 

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.

Borrowing

Borrowing

The value of new loans to political parties in Great Britain in the first quarter of 2020 was £396,244. Loans with a value of £380,653 were paid off in the first quarter of 2020. There were no new loans reported by Northern Ireland parties.

Donations accepted by regulated donees

Donations accepted by regulated donees in Q1 2020 

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 first quarter of 2020, £3,014,009 donations were accepted by 75 donees. The total includes cash and non-cash donations, as well as donations towards overseas visits. Full details are available on our website. 

Further information

Further information

A summary of donations reported by parties in the first quarter of 2020, including the highest donors and details of late reports, is available on the Commission’s website

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

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 379 registered political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during quarter one 2020. 73 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 56 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. 

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.

Last updated: 9 June 2020
Next review: 9 June 2021