Party spending and pre-poll donations and loans: UK Parliamentary general election

Splitting spending

Why you may need to split spending

You may need to split your costs between activities and materials that count as campaign spending and those that don’t. 

Here are two common examples of where you need to split spending:

  • if you use your office as a base for telephone canvassing, you will need to split the phone bill between canvassing calls, and calls made for non-campaign purposes
  • if you use design work for campaigning before the regulated period begins, and continue to use it after it has begun, you will need to split the design costs between the two periods

Splitting spending summary box 1

For example, you commission design work for a campaign logo for your party that you use on your website, other social media and on all your campaign material for a month before the regulated period starts and during the 12-month regulated period.

You should split the cost of the design equally across the entire time that you use it in this way.

The design work cost £19,500, and you used it over a 13-month period, the cost per month is £19,500 ÷ 13 = £1,500 a month. 

The regulated period covered the final 12 months, so the cost of spending during the regulated period is:

12 x £1,500 = £18,000 

£18,000 must be recorded as party campaign spending

The honest assessment principle

The honest assessment principle

In all cases you should make an honest assessment, based on the facts, of the proportion of spending that can fairly be attributed to your campaign.

Sometimes, it may be difficult to make an exact split. For example, your telephone bill may only provide a breakdown of the cost of calls over a certain value.

In these cases, you should consider the best way of making an honest assessment on the information you have. For example, you could compare the bill with one that does not cover a regulated period.

If you are still not sure, call or email us for advice.

When you submit your spending return you must declare that the return is complete and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. This declaration covers any assessments you have made about splitting spending.

It is an offence to make a false declaration knowingly or recklessly.1

Last updated: 9 November 2023