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

What doesn't count as spending?

Activities not included in campaign spending are:1

  • reasonable expenses attributable to the protection of persons or property, for example hiring security or purchasing antivirus software for protecting campaign computers
  • permanent, fixed term or temporary staff costs where the staff member has a direct employment contract with the party
  • volunteer time
  • office running costs, except costs that are higher than usual because of campaigning, such as telephone bills
  • people’s travel, food and accommodation costs while they campaign, unless you reimburse them
  • expenses met out of public funds. For example, security costs for VIP visits
  • material sent only to your members
  • party conferences2
  • local newsletters about elected representatives or prospective candidates
  • anything which a candidate properly declares on their spending return3
  • anything which a registered recall petition campaigner properly declares on their spending return4

Volunteer time

Sometimes you may not be sure if someone is a volunteer or if their time should be treated as notional spending. For example, they may offer similar services professionally to the ones they are performing for you.

They will be a volunteer if:

  • their employer is not paying them for the time they spend on your campaign, or
  • they are using their annual leave, or
  • where they are self-employed, you won't benefit from any professional insurances they hold

If they use specialist equipment or materials, you should consider whether their use is notional spending, using the principles in the next section.

Last updated: 27 March 2024