It’s time to find out which parties are in the money, thanks to the latest Electoral Commission information on party donations. According to the figures for Q1 2014, the Tories have received £6.7 million in donations (up from £3.7 million in Q1 2013) and Labour £4.4 million (compared with £3.7 million last year). It’s not surprising that donations are up because we’ve entered an important election season. Most of the donors are not new, so here are the top five donations to the Conservative party in 2014 so far, compared with last year:
- Michael Hintze: £1.5 million
- James Lupton: £258k
- Michael Farmer: £258k
- Alexander Fraser: £200k
- David Lilley: £200k
And the top five donors to the Labour party in 2014:
- Unite the Union: £1.8 million
- Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers: £692k
- Unison: £420k
- Communication Workers Union – £142k
- Andrew Rosenfeld – £100k
The other parties received plenty of cash too — the Lib Dems brought in £1.1 million (up from £800k on the same period last year) and Ukip took £493k, a huge increase on the £75k they received in Q1 2013. The SNP also brought in £1.1 million, a 100 per cent increase from Q1 2013, thanks to two £500k lumps from lottery winners Christine and Colin Weir.
There are other interesting facts in these figures. First, Labour is still very much in hock to the unions. As Isabel pointed out in September, when the last batch of figures were published, the party is dangerously vulnerable to collapse if the unions cut funding — 75 per cent of their funding, as Grant Shapps has been eager to point out. Secondly, the two main parties are both in debt, albeit at very different levels. Labour has outstanding loans of £12 million, while the Tories owe £1.9 million. The worry for Labour (especially with the withdrawal of the Co-op’s generous assistance) is whether it can service that debt.
UPDATE: It’s been reported on LBC this evening that Unite the Union have front loaded their Labour donation for 2014 into this quarter alone.