Electoral Commission
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Latest figures for GB political party donations and loans borrowing published

Seven political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of more than £6 million in donations between 1 July and 30 September 2017 – the first quarterly reporting period after the UK Parliamentary general election - according to new figures published yesterday.

This quarter saw around the same amount in reported donations when compared to the same quarter in 2016 (£6.5million). There was a steep decline compared to the previous quarter of 2017, which covered the UK Parliamentary general election and saw more than £40 million in donations reported.

The seven political parties to report donations accepted were:

Party Total accepted in quarter 3 2017    
Conservative and Unionist Party         £3,701,470
Co-operative Party £30,000
Green Party £26,550
Labour Party £1,739,580
Liberal Democrats £610,444
Scottish National Party (SNP) £44,039
UK Independence Party (UKIP) £35,640
Total £6,187,723

In addition to these donations, during the third quarter of 2017 five parties accepted a total of more than £3.3 million from public funds – money and assistance allocated to parliamentary opposition parties to assist with costs.

The value of outstanding loans to political parties as of 30 September 2017 stood at £4,151,868, which is a decrease of £59,240 compared to the end of the second quarter of 2017.

Ten parties failed to meet the deadline for reporting for this quarter. The Commission will consider each of these matters in line with its enforcement policy, which is available to view here.

Northern Ireland

In July this year the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced legislation would be brought forward to enable the publication of donations and loans received by political parties in Northern Ireland from 1 July 2017.

The Electoral Commission had expected to publish the first set of this data as part of today’s publication; however, the legislation has not been made and the Commission continues to be prohibited from publishing this information.

Bob Posner, Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel at the Electoral Commission said:

“This data is hugely important in ensuring that our political finance system is as transparent as possible across the whole of the UK. We are extremely disappointed that we are unable to provide the public with the information they expected on how political parties in Northern Ireland are funded. The continuing secrecy only serves to undermine trust and confidence amongst the public in the democratic process.

“The Commission urges the UK Government without delay to bring forward the legislation that it has already announced, for parliament to approve. This would allow us to publish donations and loans to Northern Ireland parties as soon as possible.”

Further information

A summary of donations reported in the third quarter of 2017, including the highest donors, is available here.

Full details of donations and loans are available on our registers here.

Full analysis and breakdown of the figures for quarter three 2017 is available on our website here.

Full statement on transparency in Northern Ireland can be found here.

For further information please the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or email press@electoralcommission.org.uk.

For further information on transparency in Northern Ireland please contact Cahir Hughes on 028 9089 4023. For out of hours queries, please call 07789 920 414.

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, focussing 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 and Scottish Parliaments.

2. 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.

3. As the 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 Statements of Accounts. To view these accounts, visit our register here.

4. 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.

5. 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 quarter three of 2006 as a result of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

6. There were 364 registered political parties in Great Britain during this quarter, 59 of which were required to submit their quarterly donation returns and 52 to submit borrowing information within the deadline. The remaining political parties were exempt (unless they received donations) because they have previously submitted four consecutive nil returns.

Channel website: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

Original article link: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/journalist/electoral-commission-media-centre/latest-figures-for-gb-political-party-donations-and-loans-borrowing-published

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