Parties enjoy record levels of funding as Tories top political donations

Ashley Kirk
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David and Samantha Cameron are applauded by staff upon entering Downing Street after winning the election (Photo: Getty Images)

The UK's political parties received record levels of funding in the run-up to the General Election, as the 10 parties accepted more than £30.6m in the first quarter of 2015.

That was an increase of more than £10m reported than in the last quarter of 2014, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.

On top of that six parties accepted a further £2.4m from public funds in the quarter.

The amount received in the run up to the May battle dwarfed that donated in 2010, when 14 political parties accepted £19.3m.

2015's figure marks a 58.5 per cent increase on this.

The party to declare the highest value of donations was the Conservative Party, which received £15.4m in the first quarter of 2015.

Labour received £9.3m, while the Lib Dems and the SNP got £3m and 1.1m respectively. Ukip received £986,327.

The biggest increase among the three major Westminster parties was with Labour. In the first quarter of 2010, they received just £4.2m - which more than doubled in the same period for 2015.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had smaller increases in funding between the two General Elections, of 11.3 per cent and 16.4 per cent respectively.

The Tories also received the most donations out of all the parties - at 972. Labour received 593 donations in the first three months of 2015, with an average value of £19,507.95.

While the Lib Dems received 309 donations, they had the lowest average value - at £9,764.91 each. Ukip also had a relatively low average value, with their 88 donations having an average value of £11,208.26.

The value of loans to the parties stood at £13.3m as of the end of March. This is an increase of £278,024 compared to the last quarter of 2014.

Donations mainly consisted of cash. 1,821 cash donations had a total value of £28,980,873. Parties also received £2.4m in public funds and £1.5m in non-cash donations.

Together, they form the highest amount of donations recorded for any single quarter since reporting became a requirement in 2000.

The top donors in the first quarter of 2015 were:

  1. Unite the Unison - Labour Party - £3.5m
  2. GMB - Labour Party - £697,000
  3. Mr John Griffin - Conservative Party - £661,000
  4. Unison - Labour Party - £572,000
  5. Mr Colin Weir - SNP - £500,000
  6. Mr Michael D Gooley - Conservative Party - £500,000
  7. Mrs Christine Weir - SNP - £500,000

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