Monday, 11 May 2015

Chance of Party tax funding recedes

Readers will know this blog has unequivocally opposed the tax funding of political parties as proposed both by Hayden Phillips and more recently by Christopher Kelly. At the same time, we believe that excessively large donations from individuals, firms or trade unions should be limited - who wants a political system owned by the global corporates?

During the last Parliament the risk of a Party tax-grab increased exponentially as the LibDems, parliamentary paupers, having also lost their opposition 'Short' money, lobbied hard for proposals to be brought forward. Had they formed a coalition partner in the current Parliament, tax funding would be imminent. However, the result we've got actually makes tax funding far less likely. Cameron won't gain much from it, and neither (now that their vote has collapsed) will the LibDems. The big losers are UKIP and the Greens - neither of which Cameron wants to encourage. The downside is that without tax funding, Cameron can't act to stop union funding of Labour - but I think this is a price he's prepared to pay - or even possibly to encourage, if the unions force Labour even further leftwards and even further from success in 2020. 


Party Votes Annual @ £2 Annual @ £3
Conservative Party 11,334,920 22,669,840 34,004,760
Labour Party 9,344,328 18,688,656 28,032,984
UKIP 3,881,129 7,762,258 11,643,387
Liberal Democrats 2,415,888 4,831,776 7,247,664
Scottish Nationalist Party 1,454,436 2,908,872 4,363,308
Green Party 1,154,582 2,309,164 3,463,746
DUP 184,260 368,520 552,780
Plaid Cymru 181,694 363,388 545,082
Sinn Fein 176,232 0 0
Ulster Unionists 114,935 229,870 344,805
SDLP 99,809 199,618 299,427

WHAT THEY GOT IN 2014 … (Donations – source: EC)

Conservative Party
Labour Party
Liberal Democrats
Scottish Nationalist Party
Green Party


DeeDee99 said...

I'm opposed to tax-payer funding of political parties - but the system as it is leaves the Conservative Party with a massive financial advantage. Their Masters in The City will always ensure they have enough money to outspend all the others put-together.

What we need is a cap on Political Party spending during election periods.

Anonymous said...

What we need is for political donations to be a) from UK citizens only b) from individuals only, not companies or unions etc c) a cap at, say, £5 per year from each person and d) only to those candidates representing/intending to represent the individuals constituency.

That'll do for starters.

Budgie said...

I am extremely glad that taxpayer funding is now less likely. However without having any strong feelings about this I tend to agree with Anon at 9:03. Donations should be limited to UK individuals, not businesses, and not unions, but I would set the cap much higher, say £1000. This would force political parties to attend to their members rather than vested interests like unions, businesses and lobby groups.

G. Tingey said...

"Union" funding IS individual persons' funding.
Each member who "contracts in" pays a remarkably small amount wi=hich is then forwarded to the Liebour party.
I know because ( many years ago) I used to be a union member who contracted out - i.e. did NOT pay a party levy.

Budgie said...

As usual, G Tingey, you have got your claimed facts wrong. Some of the funding is contracted in money, but more of it isn't.

From the Unite union website: "The [Unite executive] council therefore agrees to make a donation of £1.5 million to the Labour party’s campaign funds and will consider further support in due course. ... The donation is separate from Unite’s affiliation fees to Labour."

And from the BBC: "Mr Lavery, who chairs the trade union group of Labour MPs, said he believed fewer than 15% of union members would opt to join [affiliate to] the party under the [proposed Miliband] changes."

blingmun said...

"excessively large donations from individuals, firms or trade unions should be limited"

But when an individual with a million Twitter followers spouts his views reaching an audience that would cost anyone else hundreds of thousands of pounds to reach, that's free speech? Got it.

Unless like the Vatican of old you are going to control the printing presses there is no practicable benefit in restricting donations to parties. Personally I could print off and deliver hundreds, perhaps thousands of privately penned letters advocating the party of my choice. But if I owned a printing factory and a delivery company then I could reach millions and never even join the party of my choice. Ditto marketing, advertising, PR companies etc.

I don't see how you can restrict the freedom of individuals/companies to promote their views without restricting free speech.