Electoral Commission
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Record £40 million donations reported by political parties for election months

Eleven political parties registered in Great Britain reported accepting a total of £40.1million in donations in the run up to June’s General Election, the largest amount ever accepted in a quarter.

The period 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017 saw £9.4 million more in reported donations than the previous highest quarter on record, which coincided with the 2015 general election. Over £30 million more in donations were reported than in the first quarter of 2017.

The eleven political parties to report donations accepted were: 

  • Conservative and Unionist Party - £24,840,627
  • Labour Party - £9,492,519
  • Liberal Democrats - £4,358,410
  • Scottish National Party (SNP) - £596,000
  • Women’s Equality Party - £282,931
  • Green Party - £176,363
  • UK Independence Party (UKIP) - £156,455
  • Co-operative Party - £150,980
  • British National Party - £100,000
  • The Socialist Party of Great Britain - £26,333
  • Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales - £5,300

In addition to these donations, during the second quarter of 2017, four parties accepted a total of more than £1.7 million from public funds – money and assistance allocated to parliamentary opposition parties to assist with costs.

The value of outstanding loans to political parties stands at £4,076,803, which is an increase of £976,809 compared to the end of the first quarter, 31 March 2017.

Twelve 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.

Bob Posner, Director of Political Finance and Regulation & Legal Counsel said:

“The snap general election prompted political parties to raise record-breaking sums in the second quarter of 2017. The reporting and publication of this data is key to providing voters with transparency about how political parties financed their general election campaigns. Voters can have confidence that, where parties fail to submit information by a statutory deadline and there is no reasonable explanation, we will take a robust approach in dealing with these breaches.”

A summary of donations reported in the second 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 two 2017 is available on our website here.

Donations and loans to political parties in Northern Ireland are not currently included in our reporting as the Commission is required by law to keep details of these confidential. The Secretary State for Northern Ireland announced in July that the UK Government would legislate to allow the Commission to publish details of donation and loan reports received from 1 July 2017 in Northern Ireland. We understand that This legislation is to be brought forward this autumn.

For further information please the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704 or email press@electoralcommission.org.uk. 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 351 registered political parties in Great Britain during this quarter, 51 of which were required to submit their quarterly donation returns and 44 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.

7. The figures reported for quarterly donations and borrowing have been rounded. The exact figures are available on our website here.

8. The deadline for registered political parties and non-party campaigners that have spent £250,000 or less to submit their return to the Electoral Commission is 8 September 2017. The Commission expects to publish these returns later this year. The deadline for registered political parties and non-party campaigners that have spent more than £250,000 to submit their return to the Electoral Commission is 8 December 2017. The Commission expects to publish these returns in the New Year.

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

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