Political parties accept over £93m in donations in 2023

Political parties accept over £93m in donations in 2023

Political parties registered in the UK have reported accepting £22,660,735 in donations and public funds during the fourth quarter of 2023, according to figures published today by the Electoral Commission. 

Total donations accepted during 2023 was £93,829,235. This compares to £52m in the previous year. 

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

“Over £93 million in donations was accepted by political parties during 2023, nearly double the amount in the previous year. With a general election on the horizon, it’s not unusual to see a spike in donations as political parties begin to campaign.

“While there is no limit to what parties can raise, there are spending limits in place ahead of elections to ensure a level playing field.”

The political parties required to report donations in Q4 2023, including public funds, were: 

PartyTotal reportedDonations accepted (excl. public funds)Public funds acceptedTotal accepted in this quarter
Alliance - Alliance Party Northern Ireland£46,022£16,500£29,522£46,022
Communist Party of Britain£45,000£45,000£0£45,000
Conservative and Unionist Party (GB)£9,912,101£9,726,789£59,105£9,785,903
Conservative and Unionist Party (NI)£18,624£18,624£0£18,624
Co-operative Party£46,057£41,457£0£41,457
Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P.£92,460£0£92,460£92,460
Green Party (GB)£222,461£165,994£51,691£217,685
Labour Party£8,690,645£6,457,256£2,083,780£8,541,036
Liberal Democrats£2,847,889£2,355,822£379,884£2,735,706
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales£34,638£5,000£29,638£34,638
Propel£113,590£53,000£0£53,000
Reform UK£100,000£100,000£0£100,000
Scottish Green Party£59,132£43,213£3,021£46,233
Scottish National Party (SNP)£387,184£69,673£317,511£387,184
SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party)£61,943£10,000£51,943£61,943
Sinn Féin£149,948£58,974£90,974£149,948
The Reclaim Party£125,000£125,000£0£125,000
The Socialist Party of Great Britain£100,000£100,000£0£100,000
Traditional Unionist Voice – TUV£6,767£0£6,767£6,767
True & Fair Party£46,400£46,400£0£46,400
Ulster Unionist Party£22,728£0£22,728£22,728
Women's Equality Party£9,000£3,000£0£3,000
Total£23,137,589£19,441,711£3,219,024£22,660,735

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

From 1 January 2024, the threshold for reporting donations to the Commission increased. 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). 

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.

Borrowing

Parties reported entering into £24,900 of new loans in the fourth quarter of 2023. Loans with a value of £99,786 were fully paid off. 

Donations accepted by regulated donees in Q4 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 fourth quarter of 2023, £2,169,498 in donations were accepted by 102 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£0£0£0
Mayors£56,255£0£56,255
Member of a Registered Political Party£0£0£0
Members Association£1,053,202£0£1,053,202
MLA - Member of the Legislative Authority of Northern Ireland£0£1,896£1,896
MP – Member of Parliament£623,922£309,636£933,558
MSP - Member of the Scottish Parliament£0£21,588£21,588
Senedd Member£103,000£0£103,000
Totals£1,836,379£333,120£2,169,498

Further information

Full details of donations and loans reported in Q4 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. 1The 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. There were 370 registered political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during quarter four of 2023. 55 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 40 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. 
  5. 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:
         o    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
         o    regulating political finance – taking proactive steps to increase transparency, ensure compliance and pursue breaches
         o    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.