Saturday, 30 August 2008

Party Donations

The big political parties received yet more millions in donations in the last quarter, April to June. The Conservative Party was given £5.6m, while Labour received £3.8m and the Liberal Democrats £945,192, according to the Electoral Commission.

Labour's debt stands at £17.9m, the Conservatives' at £12.1m and the Lib Dems' at £1.1million!

For Labour, high-profile donors include comedian Eddie Izzard, who gave just under £10,000, and Steve Lazarides, the grafitti artist Banksy's dealer, who gave just over £120,000. Businessmen Nigel Doughty and Sir Ronald Cohen, both of whom are regular donors, provided £250,000 each - but the bulk of the party's money has come from the unions. When will they learn, Labour take union money but back the bosses.

Loans made to Labour by Lord Sainsbury and Sir Gulam Noon - worth £2m and £250,000 respectively - have since been converted into donations. These were made around the time of the last general election, in 2005, before loans worth more than £5,000 had to be made public, under the terms of the 2006 Electoral Administration Act. One wonders what big donors get in return for all this, aside from feeling a bit poorer. Could it be that it buys influence, and occasionally an 'honour'?

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have defended taking money from foreign businessmen - despite it being party policy to crack down on tax exiles. According to the commission, Bhanu and Sudhir Choudhrie - non-domiciled taxpayers - gave £20,000 each to the party. A Lib Dem spokeswoman said the two men were on the electoral register in London, and so the party had stuck to the current rules.

By contrast the Green Party got £9,296 almost entirely from party members.

Our tax money going to a good cause!

The Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru received a total of £1,643,998 in Short money, which is paid directly by the UK Parliament to opposition parties in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party, Labour Party and Liberal Democrats received £106,355 in assistance paid directly to opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament.

The Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats also received a total of £142,776 in Cranborne money which is for opposition parties in the House of Lords. The Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru received a total of £389,214 in Policy Development Grants which are allocated according to a formula approved by the UK Parliament and paid by the Electoral Commission.



scott redding said...

I don't understand the rationale behind the Banksy donation. I mean, if he's anonymous, why is a £120 000 donation ok, but a £190 000 donation not ok? They still can't verify his address on the electoral register.

Adrian Windisch said...

I understood that the donation I rederred to was from his agent. The article you refer to may be a different one.

If he wanted to he could have made a donation himself, he should be on the electoral register. But it would be difficult to keep his anonymity.