Latest quarterly political party donations in Northern Ireland published (Q3, 2019)

Summary

Eight political parties registered in Northern Ireland reported accepting a total of £869,263 in donations and public funds in the third quarter of 2019, July to September, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission. This was £970,710 less than the previous quarter, between April and June 2019. 

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 action taken by the party in relation to these.

As a result, this can lead to the amount reported by a party in a quarterly return exceeding the total accepted in a quarter by that party.

The eight political parties to report donations and public funds were:

PartyTotal reportedDonations accepted (excl. public funds)Public funds acceptedTotal accepted
Alliance - Alliance party of Northern Ireland£42,413£7,500£19,913£27,413
Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P£191,091£0£191,091£191,091
Green Party£8,525£0£8,525£8,525
People Before Profit Alliance£4,522£0£4,522£4,522
SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party)£21,715£0£21,715£21,715
Sinn Féin£585,732£500,000£85,732£585,732
Traditional Unionist Voice - TUV£6,703£0£6,703£6,703
Ulster Unionist Party£23,561£0£23,561£23,561
Total£884,263£507,500£361,763£869,263


One party failed to meet the reporting deadline 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.

The totals published today 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 substantial sources of income for parties.

Cahir Hughes, Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland, said: 

“The political party donations and loans data that we have published allows voters to clearly see how parties in Northern Ireland are funded. This transparency helps to enhance public confidence and trust in our democratic process.”  

Donations reported by regulated donees

The Commission also publishes donations accepted by regulated donees (members of registered political parties, holders of relevant elective office and members associations) on a monthly basis. In the third quarter of 2019, one donation was accepted by a donee in Northern Ireland.

Further information

A summary of donations reported by Northern Ireland parties in the third quarter of 2019, including the highest donors and details of late reports, is available on the Commission’s website. 

We have also published the third quarter donations and loans for parties in Great Britain today. A press release is available

Full details of donations and public funds for political parties in Northern Ireland are available on our registers and full details of donations and public funds for political parties in Great Britain are available on our registers.

Ends

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 028 9089 4023, 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, focusing 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 Transparency of Donations and Loans etc. (Northern Ireland Political Parties) Order 2018 allows the Commission to publish information about donations and loans reported by Northern Ireland political parties and other regulated entities from 1 July 2017 onwards. The Commission continues to urge the Government to bring forward the necessary legislation to enable it to publish information about political donations and loans in Northern Ireland from January 2014, rather than only from July 2017 as is currently the case.

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. Once the central party has reported a donation or aggregate donation over £7,500 it must report each subsequent donation of more than £1,500 from that source. 

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. To view these accounts, visit our register here

Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Northern Ireland Assembly 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 all eligible political parties 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.

Figures for income and expenditure have been rounded. Please see online database for exact amounts.

There were 34 registered political parties in Northern Ireland during quarter three 2019. 13 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 9 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.

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

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. 

All other regulated donees report their donations directly to us. We then publish this information monthly as part of our role in providing transparency in political finance in the UK.

We are publishing information on donations over £7,500 received by political parties and non-party campaigners in the weeks leading up to the general election. Further information on those reports and their publication dates is available on page 27 of our media handbook.