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Here is what the local political parties spent during the recent General Election

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All the parties that stood in and Knaresborough for the General Election, in 2019, have now returned their accounts of what they spent during their campaigns.

We have looked at declared donations along with declared spending. There is a significant difference between parties in how spend has been accounted for.

Under Electoral Commission rules, any party standing has to return accounts to Borough Council, in their role as returning officer. It is not the roll of to audit the accounts for accuracy.

Each party has to calculate a maximum spend based on the voting population in the area, this varies depending on how they have used the formulae.

Parties also declare a total spend and provide invoices as proof of the spend. Some invoices may not have actually been paid and are a donation, but they must still be declared the goods or services as election spend. There are other one-off cash donations that have been declared to the Electoral Commission.

The majority of spend with all parties was for print-based advertising, none spent any significant budget with online advertising.

Party calculated maximum spend

This is the maximum spend figure calculated by each party.

  • Yorkshire Party – Not completed
  • Conservative Party – £15,574
  • Liberal Democrats – £13,302.96
  • Party – £15,573.69

Party Declared Spend on local campaign

This is how much each party has said they spent on the local candidate. This needs to be less than the maximum spend above.

  • Yorkshire Party – £1,041
  • Conservative Party – £13,380.87
  • Liberal Democrats – £10, 246.81
  • Party – £6,61.86

Total local spend attributed as central party spend

This is what the local party spent, but say is attributable to the national party only.

  • Yorkshire Party – None
  • Conservative Party – None
  • Liberal Democrats – £21,325.91
  • Labour Party – None





How much did each party write-off as waste

This is the part of an invoice that didn’t benefit the party locally or nationally. For instance if an invoice was for £1,000 for flyers and only half were delivered, then £500 would be written-off as waste.

  • Yorkshire Party – None
  • Conservative Party – None
  • Liberal Democrats – £2,794.75
  • Labour Party – None

Declared Donations

Party Donations are detailed on the Electoral Commission website and in the accounts returned. They are either cash donations or goods or services given for free. If It is a local donation eg free printing it still needs to be declared as local spend.

To see all the donations see the Electoral Commission here

  • Yorkshire Party – Not completed
  • Conservative Party – £13,260.40
  • Liberal Democrats – £10,246.81
  • Labour Party – £3,621.86

Donations received to local parties, as on Electoral Register website (during 2019)

  • Yorkshire Party – None
  • Conservative Party – £8,000 from 3 individuals
  • Liberal Democrats – £49,980 from 6 individuals and 1 business
  • Labour Party – £2,000 from 1 individual

Conclusion

What stands-out from the accounts is the difference between the parties in the value of donations received and how it was accounted for.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party to have written-off local spend as either attributable to waste or of benefit to the national party.

We spoke to the Electoral Commission for guidance.

An Electoral Commission spokesperson said:

Not all local spending is automatically candidate spending; it is possible for party spending to occur at a local level.

If, for example, ‘Party A’ produced a leaflet with information on the party and the candidate, they must determine how much the cost of the leaflet should be attributed to the party and how much the cost of the leaflet should be attributed to the candidate.

If a leaflet promoting a party’s policies on health is distributed and the leaflet includes no reference to a candidate or local issues, the full cost of the leaflet should be treated as party spending.

If a candidate and the party need to split spending, they need to make an honest assessment, based on the facts, of the proportion of the cost that can be fairly attributed to each type of campaign spending.

This means that the cost of one flyer can be split between the local party and the national party and it is the role of the local party to decide on how that split is made.

Michael Newby the Chair of the Harrogate & Knaresborough Liberal Democrats has confirmed that this is the approach that they have taken and that a lot of literature that people may have received has come from the national campaign.








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