Electoral Commission
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NI political parties accept £365,873 in donations in first quarter of 2024

Political parties registered in Northern Ireland reported accepting £365,873 in donations and public funds during the first quarter of 2024, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission. 

This compares to £389,378 accepted in the same period in 2023 (January to March).

Cahir Hughes, Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland, said:

"Just under £366k of donations were accepted by political parties in Northern Ireland in three months. With a UK general election on the horizon, as it was during this period, it's not unusual to see a spike in donations as political parties begin to campaign.

"This quarter marks the first time the new donations thresholds have into effect. While there no limit to the amount parties can raise, there are spending limits in place ahead of elections.

The political parties to donate in Q1 2024 were

Party Total reported Donations accepted (excl public funds) Public funds accepted Total accepted
Alliance Party of Northern Ireland £41,403 £16,500 £24,903 £41,403
Conservative and Unionist Party £11,611 £11,611 £0 £11,611
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) £104,697 £0 £104,697 £104,697
Social Democratic and Labour Patry (SDLP) £51,480 £0 £51,480 £51,480
Sinn Féin £131,412 £37,048 £94,364 £131,412
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) £25,270 £0 £25,270 £25,270
Total £365,873 £65,159 £300,714 £365,873

Since 1 January 2024, the threshold for reporting donations to the Commission increased. Following a change in law by the UK Government, parties will be required to report donations over £11,180 (and over £2,230 for accounting units).

The value of donations reported by a political party to the Commission may be different to the value of donations it actually accepted in that quarter. This can be due to aggregated donations, impermissible donations, and/or late reported donations. 

Further information

We have also published the donation and loans for parties across the United Kingdom today (Opens in new window)

Full details of donations and public funds for political parties in Northern Ireland are available on our political finance register (Opens in new window), as are details for political parties in Great Britain (Opens in new window)

For more information, contact the Electoral Commission press office in Belfast on 028 9089 4032, out of hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

  1. Political parties are required to submit quarterly donation and loan returns to the Electoral Commission. Within these returns, parties report donations accepted above the £11,180 threshold (£2,230 for accounting units), smaller donations from a single donor which exceed the reporting threshold when taken together, impermissible donations they have received, and action taken by the party in relation to these and donations which ought to have been reported in previous quarters
  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 £11,180 relating to the central party, or over £2,230 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 £11,180 it must report each subsequent donation of more than £2,230 from that source.  
  3. 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 statements of accounts.  
  4. Public funds are donations from the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Northern Ireland Assembly 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 all eligible political parties 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 30 registered political parties in Northern Ireland during quarter one 2024. Nine were required to submit a quarterly donation report and one 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 exempt from submitting a report. 
Channel website: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk

Original article link: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/media-centre/ni-political-parties-accept-ps365873-donations-first-quarter-2024

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