Significant restrictions on party funding

As membership of political parties has declined massively in the past few decades, donors have become increasingly central to British politics. It also appears to be the case that - particularly big donors - are fundamentally undermining the functioning of our democracy. 

There should be restrictions on the amount of funding the political parties can receive - indeed, I would even recommend that they are forced to depend only on 5-10 pound joining fees. They would need to work harder to gain members, and maybe they'd start representing people better. 

But of course they're unlikely to agree to this.

edited on Feb 9, 2015 by Jake Wellman

Tom Austin Apr 9, 2015

Yes, a very good beginning.

Either Membership subs only, or with the addition of matching funds from other sources - subject to those sources being Citizens of the UK under the Constitution.

Jake Wellman Apr 17, 2015

Perhaps a summary of this idea could be represented in the following text: 

"Political parties may receive financial contributions only from membership fees paid by individuals upon joining a party."

Tom Austin Apr 17, 2015

You seem more cruel that you look Mr. Wellman, in that you don't even provide for membership renewal. I may not be any more right that you, but I do allow for endowments etc.

Also, as Harry Blain has said, perhaps Subscriptions should be set at £5/£10 per annum: no super member, super-duper member, star-chamber member - gold standard, platignum standard etc. etc..

Daniel Gaunt Apr 18, 2015

This provision would allow parties that want to take big donations to set up a category of membership which with, say, a £1m annual fee thereby getting around the per individual limit.

There's a better, wider one on the topic of funding which includes limits but backed up by public funding.

View all replies (2)

Harry Blain Apr 18, 2015

I'm with Tom here: "Political parties will be funded by a subscription and renewal fees from their members, and will not be allowed to receive funding from external donors" (Could make it more gentle but that's approximately the gist of it)

Mark Cooke Apr 18, 2015

It's nice in theory to think that  political parties could be supported entirely by small donations from their supporters,  but that simply doesn't generate enough funds to enable effective functioning of the democratic process. (It doesn't work for pressure groups either).

If you are proposing this you need to identify what other sources of funding (taxpayer matching or something) that makes this feasible.