Political parties accepted £11m in donations in three months to September

Political parties accepted £11m in donations in three months to September

Political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have reported accepting over £11m in donations and public funds from July to September, according to figures published today by the Electoral Commission. The total of £11,175,980 is made up of donations to 19 parties and compares similarly to levels reported in the same period in 2021 (£11,598,440).

Louise Edwards, the Electoral Commission’s Director of Regulation, said:

“We are committed to protecting and promoting a transparent political finance system for voters, and publish the details of these donations so that everyone can see how parties are funded. Parties are legally required to check the donations they accept are from permissible sources and to report these to us.

“While these laws help voters to understand where political donations come from, reforms are needed to modernise and further safeguard the system. We have recommended for some time that the UK Government and Parliament work with us to improve donation controls and increase confidence in the UK’s political finance regime.”

The political parties that reported donations in Q3 2022 were:

Party Total reported Donations accepted (excl. public funds) Public funds accepted Total accepted in this quarter

Alliance - Alliance Party of Northern Ireland

£34,728 £15,000 £19,728 £34,728
Conservative and Unionist Party (GB) £3,013,023 £2,890,867 £58,069 £2,948,935
Conservative and Unionist Party (NI) £26,979 £26,979 £0 £26,979
Co-operative Party £299,300 £299,300 £0 £299,300
Democratic Unionist Party - D.U.P. £86,296 £0 £86,296 £86,296
Green Party (GB) £129,786 £68,716 £46,778 £115,494
Labour Party £4,756,370 £2,839,756 £1,867,064 £4,706,820
Liberal Democrats £1,752,825 £1,366,827 £296,342 £1,663,169
People Before Profit Alliance £4,766 £0 £4,766 £4,766
Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales £27,719 £0 £27,719 £27,719
Scottish Green Party £5,761 £2,250 £3,511 £5,761
Scottish National Party (SNP) £396,300 £0 £396,300 £396,300
SDLP (Social Democratic & Labour Party) £115,276 £0 £115,276 £115,276
Sinn Féin £183,049 £100,000 £83,049 £183,049
The Reclaim Party £91,084 £91,084 £0 £91,084
The Socialist Party of Great Britain £400,000 £400,000 £0 £400,000
Traditional Unionist Voice – TUV £6,820 £0 £6,820 £6,820
True & Fair Party £30,250 £30,250 £0 £30,250
Ulster Unionist Party £23,236 £0 £23,236 £23,236
Women’s Equality Party £10,000 £10,000 £0 £10,000
Total £11,393,567 £8,141,028 £3,034,952 £11,175,980

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

Borrowing

There were £188,300 of new loans reported in Q3 2022. Loans with a value of £28,000 were fully paid off.

Donations accepted by regulated donees

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 Q3 2022, £2,111,117 in donations were accepted by 182 donees. The total includes cash and non-cash donations, as well as donations towards overseas visits. Full details of donations to regulated donees 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
Leadership candidate £1,172,938 £0 £1,172,938
Mayor £17,533 £0 £17,533
Members Association £126,800 £0 £126,800
MP – Member of Parliament £660,033 £133,812 £793,845
Totals £1,977,305 £133,812 £2,111,117

Further information

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

Full details of donations and loans reported in Q3 2022 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

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, Scottish and Welsh parliaments.

2. The amount that a political party reports to the Commission may be different to the amount it accepts in a quarter. The amount reported can include donations that were returned because they were impermissible and/ or donations which should have been reported in previous quarters.

3. 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.

4. Six parties failed to meet the reporting deadline for this quarter. The Commission will consider each of these matters, as well as donations reported late, in line with its Enforcement Policy, if appropriate. Any sanctions applied will be published at a later date.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 Q3 2006 as a result of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

9. There were 383 registered political parties in Great Britain and Northern Ireland during Q3 2022. 67 were required to submit a quarterly donation report and 41 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.

10. More information on what constitutes a regulated donee and their legal reporting requirements is available on our website.

11. 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 and publishes any donations that fall within the regulated donee laws. The Commission has a regulatory role in relation to the permissibility of donations.

12. Members of Scottish Parliament report their accepted donations to the Register of Interests for the Scottish Parliament.  

13. 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.