How are political parties funded at the present time?
This essay is going to attempt to find out how political parties are funded at this point in time. I am going to look at the three major political parties: Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrats. I plan from my research to give a solid argument to how they should be funded in the future. I am going to address how each party has been involved in some sort of controversy concerning funding.
All parties receive membership subs. But that is not enough to pay for modern campaigning - especially with the general decline in membership over recent decades. The Conservatives rely mainly on donations from individuals and companies. Labour also receives these, but a large chunk of its income comes from trade unions. Lib Dem’s have also been boosted by large donations in recent years.
Along with donations the UK also has a form of state funding. Opposition parties receive money to pay for administration and other costs. Otherwise, the ruling party - with its access to the instruments of government, such as the civil service - would have an unfair advantage. A sum of £2 million is split and then is given by the government to parties which have either 150,000 votes in a general election or have two or more sitting MP’s that have taken the oath of allegiance.
All parties are required to disclose their finances to the Electoral Management Body. Which is responsible for administering elections. Under rules drawn up by the current government, donations worth £5,000 or more to national parties have to be declared. I feel that this is a good idea as it means the donation system is more transparent and only respectable businesses or individuals can make donations.
Party funding has been under scrutiny for years now as donations perhaps have been a way for wealthy business people to have extra power. Almost as a way for people such as Lord Ashcroft to by their way into politics. Each party is...