Osborne takes aim at the Opposition Parties.

You have seen the news with commentators and business journalists pouring over Tax Credit changes and cuts to the Bloc Grant, but one cut that really caught my eye was this little gem buried in the Autumn Statement on Page 76 which is benignly titled “Reducing the Cost of Politics” and states;

Short Money

Wait, what is short money? The BBC website explains;

The original idea was to create more of a level-playing field for opposition parties. The governing party has access to the full might of the civil service machine to formulate its policies. To hold ministers properly to account, opposition party MPs should be able to employ researchers and carry out detailed policy work. That was the thinking. It is meant to be used on policy research for frontbench spokesmen and to pay staff salaries in the Whips and leader of the opposition’s offices. It is not meant to be used for political campaigning or paying staff salaries at party HQ.

Who gets it?

To qualify for Short money, a party must have at least two MPs or one MP and more than 150,000 votes. The amount payable to qualifying parties is £16,956.86 for every seat won at the most recent election plus £33.86 for every 200 votes gained by the party. There is also a travel fund of £183,336 which is shared between the parties in line with the same formula. In addition, the Leader of the Opposition’s office is entitled to about £777,500 to help with running costs. The parties receive a monthly payment.

This announcement, if passed by the House of Commons, will have an impact on our local parties as the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and UUP all are entitled to short money.

Below is the table of the entitlement that each party receives at the moment;


Short Money 2Going on these figures, the loss to each of our local parties should be somewhere in this region per year in terms of short money from the next financial year.

DUP-£31,698.46p (£126,792 over a four year period)

Sinn Fein-£18,554.45p (£74,216 over four years)

SDLP-£12,875.35p (£51,500 over four years)

UUP-£10,142.96p. (£40, 568 over four years).

These figures don’t include changes to the Policy Development Grant which will also hit the parties here. But again as a health warning, these changes need to be voted on by the Commons and things could change, but on the basis of what is in the Autumn Statement and the current figures this is what we are looking at.

The only party that can be slightly happy is the UUP as they have still benefited from coming from no MPs to having two. They are still much better of financially.

Interesting that in the grand scheme of the savings needed this is all relatively small money and yet Osborne has decided to target this area.



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  • Cavehill

    So Sinn Fein take the money but not their seats? That sounds a bit hypocritical.

  • OneNI

    How bizarre to focus on this David you do realise the financial support for parties at Stormont is way in excess of Westminster, Holyrood or Cardiff?

  • Kevin Breslin

    SO they are going from a position where since 2010 no political parties have taken a financial hit in order to tackle the deficit, to a position where since 2010 all parties at Westminister bar the Conservatives (including Sinn Féin) have taken a financial hit in order to tackle the deficit.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Short Money is eligible for nearly all opposition MPs, whether you are Gregory “Two Jobs” Campbell or Dennis Skinner MP for Cray Cross.

  • jimjam

    It’s Short money, named after Edward Short.

  • barnshee

    Its a start -keep it up

  • chrisjones2

    The Conservatives havent taken a hit because they have far more MPs

  • Reader

    Did you see the bit about “cutting and freezing ministerial pay”? That affected only the Conservatives.

  • Ernest Blofeld

    George Osborne’s real name is Gideon

  • aquifer

    Interesting that all UK votes seem to count towards the fund. Sinn Fein should stand in Liverpool! DUP in Glasgow?

    Giving them money per vote is fairer than rewarding the biggest expense cheats tho’

  • David McCann

    Bizarre for a NI politics site to focus on NI parties?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well no, but if I missed it David probably missed it too.
    Not sure what a non-minister in government gets or how they “suffer” out of this.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Short Money exists for a reason, the Conservatives needed it within living memory.

  • Kevin Breslin

    There is one member of the opposition who doesn’t get any Short Money. Lady Slyvia Herman.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Great cynicism there, but you’d lose a lot more in deposits than you’d gain in Short money under a certain threshold.

  • aquifer

    Well spotted, it would take 3650 votes to break even after the reduction. But it would be money taken from other parties. Electoral pacts could be worth money.

    Also, the votes taken from one candidate could tip a marginal. No wonder the Tories, and probably the DUP, are beholden to UKIP.

    Sammy Wilson, ex DUP finance minister seen cosying up to Nigel Farage, now it all adds up.

  • Dan

    Theyve taken loads of money through scams and deceit too.

  • Reader

    Well I’m not sure how any individual “suffers” out of the Short money changes either, as Short money goes to the parties for research. They’ll just have to dig a bit deeper into the membership fees.
    Anyway, if Corbyn cruises to victory in 2020 then Osborne will be sad…

  • Kevin Breslin

    I guess party researchers do. 😀

    I had a vague understanding of the purpose of Short money, the logic I guess is that because the government has access to departmental research and the civil service it doesn’t really need it.

    Reducing the average salary or pension of an MP would be a neutral gesture, I guess.

  • Reader

    Round here we don’t rely on birth certificates to determine someone’s real name. E.g half of Sinn Fein.

  • Skibo

    Just what are you trying to insinuate there?

  • Skibo

    If everyone was paid on how often they take their seats there would be a hell of a reduction except, it seems for the SNP.

  • Reader

    What’s the problem? Do you not think that there are a number of SF politicians whose current name is not what was written on their birth certificates?
    And have I not taken the correct stance? I.e. that their current name is their “real name”.

  • Greenflag 2

    You assume Osborne will last that long .The Tory majority is less than what John Major’s was and his was eaten away in a couple of years .