Reporting

If your spending promotes the party but not any particular candidate, then it must be reported as party spending.

Spending which promotes a particular candidate but does not appear in a candidate return must also be reported as party spending.

However, any spending which must appear in a candidate return is exempted from party spending.1

There are two ways that your activity could need to appear in the candidate return:

  • notional spending by the candidate
  • authorised spending by the party on behalf of the candidate

Notional spending by the candidate

If you have provided or transferred something to the candidate, and it is then used by or on behalf of the candidate in the candidate regulated period, and if the value is over £50, then this will be notional spending by the candidate.2

In this case, the candidate must report the spending. Since it must appear in the candidate return, the spending does not need to appear in the party return.

If the candidate receives it after they have become a candidate, this will also be a donation from the party to the candidate, and must also be reported as a donation in the return.3

Authorised spending

If you have not provided or transferred anything to the candidate, but if you have spent money promoting the candidate after they are officially a candidate, this is what is sometimes called ‘local campaigning’ or ‘section 75 spending’.

You must get written authorisation from the candidate’s agent if you are going to spend more than £700 promoting a particular candidate.4

If the agent authorises you to incur the spending, then you are also authorised to make the payments for that spending.5 If you do make the payments, then if it is received after they are officially a candidate and it is over £50 it will be a donation to the candidate.6  

The authorised spending must be reported by the agent in the candidate return.7  

Because it must appear in the candidate return, it does not need to appear in the party return. However, if you incurred over £700, then you must also complete a separate return and a declaration. You must submit these to the Returning Officer in the candidate’s constituency within 21 days of the result being declared.8

Unauthorised spending

If the agent has not authorised you to incur the spending, then it does not need to appear in the candidate return. In this case, you must include it in your party return as usual.9

It is an offence to spend more than £700 promoting any particular candidate once they are officially a candidate without getting written authorisation from the agent.10

Flowchart summarising the information on this page about how to report spending

More detail on reporting candidate spending can be found in:

Guidance for candidates and agents at UK Parliamentary general elections in Great Britain

Guidance for candidates and agents at UK Parliamentary general elections in Northern Ireland
 

Last updated: 10 May 2024