Labour Party spends £10m more than Conservatives in 2018

12 Aug 19

The Labour Party outspent its Conservative rivals considerably last year, according to the latest accounts published by the Electoral Commission.

Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition spent £46.3m in the year to 31 December 2018, the data released last week showed – nearly £10m more than the governing party (which spend £36.3m) , figures published by the commission last week revealed.  

The Scottish National Party is the most prudent when it comes to managing its money as it was the only large party to spend less than its income, the 2018 financial accounts of political parties and their accounting units in Great Britain with income or expenditure of more than £250,000 showed. 

The commission found in 2018 a total of 11 parties reported £97.8m of income and £99.3m of expenditure – a considerable fall on 2017, which was an election year, when 10 parties reported income of £123m and spending of £122m.

Unsurprisingly Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Green Party dominated the political funding landscape.

Labour – which today has about 500,000 members compared with the Conservative membership of 160,000 – generated income of £45.6m against the Tories’ £34.2m.

Both the main parties spent more than they earned, with Labour’s expenditure £650,000 greater than its income but the Conservatives clocking up a much larger deficit of £2.1m.

Labour income is more than seven times that of the Liberal Democrats, who earned £6.2m in 2018 and spent £6.5m. 

The SNP, which is now pressing hard for a second referendum on Scottish independence, generated income of £4.7m in 2018 but spent only £3.6m, leaving it with a war chest of £1.1m. 

However, the total figures give only a partial view of spending by political parties, which may also register “accounting units” with separate finances from the main party – constituent or affiliated units, including constituency parties.

Electoral Comission data indicated that the parties together registered eight accounting units in 2018 that reported total income of £7.8m and spending of £7.3m, and that this form of budgeting is dominated by the Liberal Democrats.

Separate Lib Dem accounting units – the Lib Dems in both England and Scotland, their Parliamentary Office, and the ALDC, the party’s body for councillors and campaigners – generated total further income of nearly £4.9m.

When these figures are taken into account, total Labour Party income across the country is only four times that of the Lib Dems.

The Electoral Commission data show that the overall income of political parties fell by £3.4m between 2016 and 2018 while spending rose in the same period by £5.1m. 

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