Local Politics – Website Details Local Party Donations

There are rules controlling the donations and loans that political parties receive.

There are rules on who can make donations and loans to political parties and other campaigners. For instance, individuals can only donate if they are on an electoral register.

Parties have to record the donations and loans they receive, check they are from a permissible source, and report larger donations and loans to The Electoral Commission.  Details of loans and donations are published on the Electoral Commission’s online database to ensure there is transparency about the funding of parties.

What is a donation?

A donation is money, goods or services given to a party without charge or on non-commercial terms, with a value of over £500. Some examples of donations include:

  • A gift of money or other property.
  • Sponsorship of an event or publication.
  • Subscription or affiliation payments.
  • Free or specially discounted use of an office.

Who has donated locally?

If we take a peek into the database we can see that, in the Amber Valley constituency, the Conservatives have had £31,300 donated to them since April 2008. These donations have come from:

Mr David Bliss £2,000.00
Mr Robert M Kirkland £5,000.00
Mr Timothy Rice £2,500.00
United & Cecil Club £4,300.00
Mr John Cotton £2,500.00
Mr Brian Kingham £2,500.00
JCB Research £10,000.00
Mr James Tyler £2,500.00

The Labour Party in Amber Valley is mainly funded by trade union donations although there are some notable individuals contributing. Their total of £28,018 since March 2002 breaks down as follows:

Anthony Blair £1,000.00
Co-operative Party £3,500.00
Derbyshire County Labour Group £2,300.00
GMB £6,000.00
Judy Mallaber MP £3,958.00
UNISON £11,260.00

For the Mid Derbyshire constituency that includes Belper the web site lists 3 donations to the Conservative Party – all in 2015. These were £2,000 from the United and Cecil Club and £5,000 each from Robert Kirkland and Martin Du Sautoy. The Labour Party received £2,000 from Rushcliffe Care Group.

There are no donations in excess of £500 recorded for the Liberal Democrats, UKIP or the Green Party.

For more information on donations and party spending visit the Electoral Commission here.

By David George

Article amended 25/04/2016

7 thoughts on “Local Politics – Website Details Local Party Donations

  • 24th April 2016 at 7:14 pm
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    For clarity, Belper and Duffield Labour party raise the vast majority of their funds through events and raffles, and also are lucky enough to receive occasional small donations. Most of these funds are used to produce leaflets and materials for election purposes and to book rooms for meetings. As a local party, we receive no funding from the national Labour party, nor from members subs.
    Amber Valley Labour party also produces leaflets around election times, for delivering in the borough.

    note. It does look a little misleading to compare Amber Valley Conservative donations since 2008, with Labour ones since 2002, but in either event the amount is relatively trivial considering the number of households in the borough- around £2k per year Labour and just under £4k Conservative.

    Ben Bellamy, Treasurer, Belper and Duffield Labour Party.

    Reply
    • 25th April 2016 at 7:12 pm
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      There are no recorded donations to local Conservative Parties prior to 2008 so the data used is complete.

      Reply
  • 24th April 2016 at 7:31 pm
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    I have the highest respect for you David but with this article I fear that you have gone where angels fear to tread.

    I was at first intrigued by the title, “Local Politics – where does the money come from” but ended up totally confused by your list of donors and trying to equate that with the funding events the Belper & Duffield Labour Party Branch undertakes to support our local candidates for town and borough elections. It was when I clicked on the link you provided that all was revealed because the website you refer to lists donations to constituency parties, funds that support Westminster parliamentary candidates. Belper is not in the parliamentary constituency of Amber Valley but is actually in the Mid-Derbyshire constituency; the only listing for Labour being £2,000 in 2009 from the Rushcliffe Care Group.

    My researches have come up with the following:

    So, to itemise my points:

    1/ None of the £2,000 donated in 2009 to Mid-Derbyshire Labour was spent on local elections or in any way filtered down to fund local Belper candidates.

    2/ Belper & Duffield Labour Party have received none of the £28,018 donated to Amber Valley constituency party between 2002 and 2015.

    3/All expenses for both town and borough elections are fully funded by the Belper & Duffield Labour Party Branch with money raised at social events such as quiz nights, branch meeting raffles, get togethers or from small personal donations from individual branch members.

    I can tell you that it is dispiriting to put so much effort into fundraising and to then read an article on Nailed that gives the impression that our candidates standing for the AVBC elections on May 5th (in 11 days time as I write this) are bankrolled by large donations. It is equally galling to think how many voters may have had their postal voting intentions influenced by this article.

    We must however carry on …….. juggling what monies we have managed to raise to print enough leaflets which then have to be shoved through the animal snares that masquerade as letterboxes in Belper Central and Belper North ………… nigh on 5,000 homes to be visited and canvassed at least twice during the campaign. Last year with Belper Town Council and all 4 Belper Wards plus 1 in Duffield our funding and logistical task was even more difficult.

    Perhaps a way forward might be to re-title this article to make it less misleading. Making party political funding transparent is a worthwhile exercise and is definitely in the public interest but it is important to understand not only where the money comes from but also where the money goes to. We live in a strange borough which straddles 2 constituencies so every care must be taken when researching funding in a place like Belper. I am writing this comment with every confidence that our local Labour Branch is self sufficient with funding, relying totally on our own resources but I have contacted those with longer memories than mine and asked them if Belper Labour has received external funding for local elections. If I am in any way in error they will tell me ………. and then I will tell you.

    John Porter

    Reply
  • 24th April 2016 at 10:06 pm
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    More than happy to set the record straight though I doubt we are as influential as you think we might be. How anyone can read £28,000 since 2002 as excessive I’ll never know. What I am intrigued by is why Mid Derbyshire fares so poorly against neighbouring Amber Valley. I suspect it is something to do with the constituency being marginal.
    Changes will be made to the article shortly

    Reply
  • 24th April 2016 at 10:12 pm
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    I also welcome the intention to provide information about party funding – it is interesting how David’s research reveals the large amounts of funding of Conservative Parliamentary Campaigning in Amber Valley through two strange organisations:

    JCB Research ( from Wikipedia )
    JCB Research is described as an obscure company worth £27,000 which donated £2m to the Conservative party, making it the largest donor in the run up to the 2010 election. Ownership of the company which has never filed accounts is disputed by the Bamford brothers. According to the Guardian, much of the Bamford money was held in shares in offshore trusts.[24]

    and
    United and Cecil Club
    registered at a stables in Iver, Buckinghamshire. According to the Parliamentary register, the address is used as a riding school. ( source: Powerbase )
    ”U&C uses a loophole to allow donors to stay anonymous by donating values under £7,500 through the club. Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch and the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, said the system was open to abuse. ‘It is astonishing in today’s world to find the Conservatives deliberately exploiting a loophole that allows its donors absolute anonymity. This is not petty cash either, but sums large enough to help shift voting. If these donors want to influence British politics, they should have the courage of their convictions and declare it. This government aspires to be the most transparent in the world. They should start by following the spirit of the rules on donations. Come clean on who your backers are David Cameron. This is not how modern politics is done.’

    It is also worth noting that Amber Valley is one of a couple of dozen constituencies where Conservative MPs are caught up in the allegations of undeclared election expenses during the 2015 campaign, as explained here : http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/tory-mps-broke-election-laws-7467576

    Reply
  • 25th April 2016 at 3:56 am
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    Thank you David.

    My concern was that if such sums were expended on local politics then there would indeed be reason to be concerned. The funding of democracy is important but there have to be limitations otherwise those with the deepest pockets would be able to buy power.

    As to the influence of Nailed Belper – I was led to believe that the site was becoming very popular and on that you should be congratulated. This was a wonderful idea.

    John Porter

    Reply
  • 25th April 2016 at 2:51 pm
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    As Chair of Belper & Duffield Labour Party I can confirm that the Branch raises the vast majority of its funds from our membership & supporters, funds that pay for our campaigning throughout the year. By 5th May we will have called at every door in Belper Central & Belper North & will have spoken to the majority of the voters. The responses we have received have been in the main polite and friendly, even from those who intend to vote for other political parties but what should concern us all is the level of disillusionment on the doorstep. Those who say they have no interest in politics, do not intend to vote or are unconcerned that they have no vote are in the majority. This electorate believes politicians of all colours are only interested in feathering their own nests or supporting policies that serve the personal interests of Councillors & MPs. The exposure of the very rich hiding their wealth and so avoiding paying their fair share of taxes has angered some but for many others it has been more proof that those who have are corrupt and everyone else is powerless, therefore, according to this logic, it is pointless fighting the status quo.
    On May 5th we will be voting for a local council that provides our basic public services, it has little money to spend which is why the decisions it makes about what this pot of money should be spent on is important to people in Amber Valley. There was a time when local government was a driving force in local communities but continual centralisation by successive governments has undermined the ability of local people to influence their environment and prioritise services. Despite the disillusionment of many electors the Labour Candidates will continue to listen to the voters and if given the opportunity will speak up for them after all It costs nothing to listen & speak out for others.

    Reply

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