Political parties accept over £24m in donations in the second quarter of 2023
Political parties registered in the UK have reported accepting £24,438,482 in donations and public funds during the second quarter of 2023, according to figures published today by the Electoral Commission.
This compares to £12,761,435 accepted in the same period in 2022 (April to June).
Louise Edwards, the Electoral Commission’s Director of Regulation and Digital Transformation, said:
“We know that voters are interested in where political parties get their money from, and this publication is an important part of delivering this transparency for voters.
“However, we’ve seen for some time that public confidence in the transparency of party and campaigner finance is declining. We continue to recommend to the UK Government that it introduces laws to help protect parties from those who seek to evade the law and give voters more confidence in the process.”
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 (over £1,500 for accounting units)
- smaller donations from a single donor which exceed the reporting threshold when taken together
- impermissible donations they have received and the action taken in relation to these.
- donations which ought to have been reported in previous quarters
The political parties required to report donations in Q2 2023, including public funds, were:
|Party||Total reported||Donations accepted (excl. public funds)||Public funds accepted||Total accepted in this quarter|
|Alliance - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland||£53,105||£25,000||£28,105||£53,105|
|Conservative and Unionist Party (GB)||£10,100,555||£9,853,327||£160,748||£10,014,074|
|Conservative and Unionist Party (NI)||£10,855||£5,966||£0||£5,966|
|Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.||£232,284||£0||£232,284||£232,284|
|Green Party (GB)||£124,627||£72,936||£51,691||£124,627|
|Green Party (NI)||£20,921||£13,921||£0||£13,921|
|Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales||£62,827||£0||£62,827||£62,827|
|Scottish Green Party||£5,172||£0||£5,172||£5,172|
|Scottish National Party (SNP)||£361,232||£7,400||£353,832||£361,232|
|SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party)||£110,607||£0||£110,607||£110,607|
|The Reclaim Party||£200,000||£200,000||£0||£200,000|
|The Socialist Party of Great Britain||£23,152||£23,152||£0||£23,152|
|Traditional Unionist Voice – TUV||£13,531||£0||£6,767||£6,767|
|True & Fair Party||£91,750||£91,750||£0||£91,750|
|Ulster Unionist Party||£16,509||£0||£16,509||£16,509|
|Women's Equality Party||£11,486||£11,486||£0||£11,486|
The value of donations reported by a political party to the Commission may be different to the value of donations it actually accepted in that quarter. This can be due to aggregated donations, impermissible donations, and/or late reported donations.
Aggregated donations are donations below the reporting threshold, from a single source, in a single calendar year which exceed the reporting threshold when combined. These are reportable in the quarter in which the party accepted the donation which takes the aggregated value over the reporting threshold.
Two parties failed to submit their quarter two reports by the deadline.
Three parties included donations in their quarter two report that should have been reported in previous quarterly reports when they were accepted. One party reported an update to a loan which should have been reported in a previous quarter.
The Commission will consider these matters in line with its Enforcement Policy, if appropriate. Any sanctions applied will be published at a later date.
There were £125,217 of new loans reported in the second quarter of 2023. Loans with a value of £2,528,906 were fully paid off. Loans with a value of £15,000 were fully converted to donations.
Donations accepted by regulated donees in Q2 2023
The Commission also publishes details of donations accepted by regulated donees. Regulated donees are members of registered political parties, holders of relevant elective office and members associations.
In the second quarter of 2023, £1,229,243 in donations were accepted by 75 regulated donees. The total includes cash and non-cash donations, as well as donations towards overseas visits. Full details of cash and non-cash donations are available on our website.
|Type of regulated donee||Value of cash and non-cash donations accepted||Value of donations accepted towards overseas visits||Total value of donations accepted|
|Member of a Registered Political Party||£15,000||£0||£15,000|
|MLA - Member of the Legislative Authority of Northern Ireland||£0||£6,559||£6,559|
|MP - Member of Parliament||£541,556||£174,828||£716,384|
|Police and Crime Commissioner||£5,000||£0||£5,000|
Full details of donations and loans reported in Q2 2023 are available on our political finance register.
For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or email@example.com.
Notes to editors
- The Electoral Commission has recommended for some time that the UK Government and Parliament consider with us how to improve the controls on donations and loans to prevent foreign money being used in UK politics. We continue to recommend reforms that would give voters greater confidence in UK political finance, including:
• the introduction of a duty on parties to carry out enhanced due diligence and risk assessments on donations, adapted from money laundering regulations
• the introduction of laws to ensure parties cannot accept money from companies that have not made enough money in the UK to fund their donation or loan
- 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 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 accounts. Information on the political parties’ most recent statements of accounts is available on the Commission’s database.
- 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 386 registered political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during quarter two of 2023. 51 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 35 to submit borrowing information within the deadline. The remaining political parties have previously submitted four consecutive nil returns. Providing they have not received donations in the last quarter, they are therefore exempt from submitting a report.
- 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. The registrar then sends these details to the Commission. The Commission identifies any donations that fall within the regulated donee rules and we publish these. The Commission has a regulatory role in relation to the permissibility of donations. 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.