Local party finances revealed as Electoral Commission publish statement of accounts

The Electoral Commission have now published details about the 2012 accounts for all local political parties. Smaller parties with income and expenditure less than £250k were released in May and the larger parties today.

This is a quick post to highlight the numbers with a variety of charts. I’ll leave it to others to start to tell the stories behind the figures … perhaps starting with the size of Sinn Féin’s legal fees and the continued lack of transparency around party donors. It would be interesting to model the size of parties (elected representatives, constituencies and members) against their income and expenditure.

(Note that in the tables and charts below, I’ve used the “Central party” figures and not included Westminster or smaller local association accounts reported to the Electoral Commission. You also need to factor in the cycle of elections which tends to boost party fundraising efforts … as well as their expenditure.)

The first table allows a comparison to be made between the UK-wide parties, SNP and Plaid Cymru and the local Northern Ireland parties.
Major party spending across UK in 2012

Financially Sinn Féin operates on a par with UKIP.

Sinn Fein 2002-2012

For the last two years, the DUP income has greatly exceeded it expenditure and its liabilities have come under control.

DUP 2002 to 2012

Ulster Unionist finances are stable. Locally they’re the only party with more than a £1m of assets, though are also the local party with greatest liabilities.

UUP 2002 to 2012

SDLP 2002 to 2012

Alliance 2002 to 2012

You can compare how each of the main party’s income has varied over the last eleven years …

Income for top five parties 2002-2012

as well as see how relative party income has varied.

Top five party income

The full raw historical account data is available from the Electoral Commission website.

Overall 2012 accounts for all NI registered parties

2012 party accounts above 25000

2012 party accounts 250-25000

The IRSP seem to gone from declaring £0 assets in 2011 to over £22k in 2012. Very odd.

What do you make of Sinn Féin’s high-earning/high-spending approach compared with the DUP’s more modest accounts?

Alan Meban. Normally to be found blogging over at Alan in Belfast where you’ll find an irregular set of postings, weaving an intricate pattern around a diverse set of subjects. Comment on cinema, books, technology and the occasional rant about life. On Slugger, the posts will mainly be about political events and processes. Tweets as @alaninbelfast.