Political parties accept over £25m in donations in third quarter of 2023

Political parties accept over £25m in donations in third quarter of 2023

Political parties registered in the UK have reported accepting £25,411,733 in donations and public funds during the third quarter of 2023, according to figures published today by the Electoral Commission. 

This compares to £11,700,902 accepted in the same period in 2022 (July to September).

Louise Edwards, Director of Regulation and Digital Transformation, said: 

“We know that voters are interested in where parties get their money from, and this publication is an important part of delivering transparency for voters. 

“However, it’s clear that publishing this information is not enough. 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 by requiring more checks on the identity of donors.” 

The political parties required to report donations in Q3 2023, including public funds, were: 

PartyTotal reportedDonations accepted (excl. pubic funds)Public funds acceptedTotal accepted in this quarter
Alba Party£108,914£0£108,914£108,914
Alliance - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland£47,438£16,500£30,938£47,438
Conservative and Unionist Party (GB)£15,810,269£15,382,623£375,971£15,758,593
Conservative and Unionist Party (NI)£7,369£7,369£0£7,369
Co-operative Party£350,100£350,100£0£350,100
Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.£92,494£0£92,494£92,494
Green Party (GB)£245,606£190.906£51,691£242,596
Labour Party£5,619,380£3,078,509£2,464,242£5,542,752
Liberal Democrats£2,373,364£1,055,038£809,024£1,864,062
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales£174,962£45,743£129,219£174,962
Reform UK£20,000£20,000£0£20,000
Scottish Green Party£8,263£0£8,263£8,263
Scottish National Party (SNP)£426,425£0£426,425£426,425
SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party)£137,011£7,500£122,011£129,511
Sinn Féin£294,257£207,070£87,186£294,257
The Reclaim Party£300,000£300,000£0£300,000
Traditional Unionist Voice - TUV£6,767£0£6,767£6,767
True & Fair Party£19,000£19,000£0£19,000
Ulster Unionist Party£16,232£0£16,232£16,232
Women's Equality Party£8,000£2,000£0£2,000
Total£26,065,850£20,682,357£4,729,377£25,411,733

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 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. Three parties included donations in their quarterly report that should have been reported in previous quarters. The Commission will consider these matters in line with its Enforcement Policy, if appropriate. Any sanctions applied will be published at a later date.

From 1 January 2024, the threshold for reporting donations to the Commission will increase. Following a change in law by the UK Government, parties will be required to report donations over £11,180 (and over £2,230 for accounting units). 

Borrowing

Parties reported entering into £27,400 of new loans in the third quarter of 2023. Loans with a value of £2,000 were fully paid off. 

Donations accepted by regulated donees in Q3 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 third quarter of 2023, £1,128,476 in donations were accepted by 84 regulated donees. Full details of are available on our website. 

Type of regulated doneeValue of cash and non-cash donations acceptedValue of donations accepted towards overseas visitsTotal value of donations accepted
Leadership Candidate£2,875£0£2,875
Mayors£74,824£0£74,824
Member of a Registered Political Party£146,800£0£146,800
Members Association£390,333£0£390,333
MP - Member of Parliament£357,661£155,983£513,644
Totals£972,494£155,983£1,128,476

Further information

Full details of donations and loans reported in Q3 2023 are available on our political finance register. 

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, 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, Welsh and Scottish Parliaments.
  2. 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
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. There were 357 registered political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during quarter three of 2023. 43 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. 
  7. 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.  
  8. 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.