Party and non-party campaigner spending of £250k or less at 2019 general election

Summary

The Electoral Commission has today published the campaign spending returns of political parties and registered non-party campaigners that spent £250,000 or less during the 2019 UK Parliamentary general election. 

58 of the political parties that contested the general election reported spending less than £250,000 during the regulated period that ran from 13 December 2018 until polling day, 12 December 2019. Altogether, these parties reported spending £389,623 on campaigning at the election. 

Quote from Louise Edwards, director of regulation

Commenting on the returns from political parties and campaigners, Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation, said:

“This is the first publication of spending information relating to last year’s general election, an important part of the transparency which is essential to our democratic process.  It is vital that voters are able to see clearly and accurately how money is spent on influencing them at elections. 

“For future elections, we have recommended that the law be changed so that parties and campaigners have to provide voters with more detail about how they spend their money at elections. This sits alongside other recommended changes to improve transparency and to address public concerns about who has produced and paid for the political campaign material they see online.”

The ten highest-spending parties that reported spending under £250,000 at the UKPGE 2019

PartyExpenditure
Women's Equality Party£102,152
Advance Together£60,875
Co-operative Party£55,199
Sinn Féin£34,684
Conservative and Unionist Party (NI)£22,017
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland£21,778
SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party)£19,612
Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.£16,064
The Socialist Party of Great Britain£8,093
The Cynon Valley Party£6,372

There are 12 parties which spent £250,000 or less and did not submit returns by the due date. These are being looked at in line with our Enforcement Policy.

Candidate spending returns

Candidates who stood in last year’s general election have already submitted their spending returns to the returning officer in the constituency in which they stood. The returns that were submitted are available to view on our candidate expenses tool.

Non-party campaigners

At the 2019 general election, there were a record 61 registered non-party campaigners. Non-party campaigners that spend over a certain limit are required to register and submit spending and donations reports to us. 34 of these reported spending under £250,000 and their spending returns have been published today. Altogether, these non-party campaigners reported spending £2,357,315. 

Non-party campaigners must also report their donations alongside their spending. The donations over £7,500 in relation to non-party campaigners’ political activity have also been published today.

The ten highest-spending non-party campaigners who reported spending under £250,000 at the UKPGE 2019:

Non-party campaignerExpenditure
Working 4 UK Limited£189,905
Energy Networks Association Limited£157,016
PV Media Hub Limited (campaign name: Vote for a Final Say)£151,550
MTCAE Limited (campaign name: Mainstream - The Campaign Against Extremism)£134,457
Scientists for EU Ltd£124,340
Avaaz Campaigns UK£122,558
Make Votes Matter£121,799
Real Change Lab Limited£120,488
The League Against Cruel Sports£107,569
Campaign Against Corbynism£106,081

Combined spending rules and the European Parliamentary Elections in May 2019

The regulated period for the 2019 UK Parliamentary general election started on 13 December 2018 and ran until 12 December 2019. This means that the spending returns published today must also include in their total spending that relates to the European Parliamentary Elections that took place in May 2019.

As a result, some parties and campaigners that spent under £250,000 at the general election will need to report total spending over £250,000 and therefore the later reporting deadline of 12 June applies. 

The figures in this release only include the general election spending. 

The spending returns for the European Parliamentary Elections are already available.   

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, 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.

Our statutory post-poll report on the 2019 UK general election was published in April and includes details of our campaign related recommendations. 

Non-party campaigners must register with the Commission if they intend to spend more than £20,000 in England or £10,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland on regulated activity during the regulated period. 

Political parties and non-party campaigners that spent under £250,000 at the UK Parliamentary General Election were required to submit their returns by 12 March 2020. 

Political parties and non-party campaigners that spent over £250,000 have until 12 June 2020 to submit their audited returns.

Full breakdown of party expenditure is available.

At unscheduled general elections, non-party campaigners must report in their spending returns any donations over £7,500 they received. These donations must also be reported during the pre-poll reporting period. They do not report donations quarterly as parties do. Donations to political parties in the first quarter of 2020 were published last week.

Every political party that contested the general election is required to submit campaign expenditure returns to the Electoral Commission, as well as non-party campaigners who spent over the registration thresholds. The deadlines for delivering spending returns depend on how much a party or campaigner spent. 

The Commission has published the returns as they were submitted by the party or campaigner. Where appropriate, it will consider any inaccuracies or incomplete information in line with its Enforcement Policy.

The deadline for these returns was 12 March 2020, before significant restrictions were imposed in relation to the COVID19 pandemic. Where there was nonetheless some impact on the ability of parties and campaigners to deliver timely and complete returns, we are taking that into account in each individual case.

Parties and campaigners that spent over £250,000 had until 12 June 2020 to submit their spending returns.