In March this year Sir Hayden Phillips produced his review of political party funding. The review, requested by Tony Blair after it was revealed that during the 2005 election the Labour Party was secretly loaned almost £14m, the Conservatives £16m and the Liberal Democrats were loaned £850,000.
Today the three major parties are to sit down and try to come to a compromise on how the parties and future elections are funded. Sir Hayden's review also recommends a £25m/year increase in state funding and a reduction in spending of £20m between elections by the major parties.
The review points to two main areas of contention that need to be addressed before an agreement can be made:
1. Labour are likely to be against any cap on individual donations that could spoil it’s relationship with the trade unions
2. The Tories, who are known for pouring money into local elections to win marginal seats, are likely to oppose spending limits at local constituency level.
Sir Hayden said: "Reaching agreement will, however, depend on the willingness of the parties to engage constructively with each other in order to find a common outcome, That will take some determination, and some compromise on all sides."
State funding for the opposition parties currently stands at about £6m/year. This funding is allocated to counterbalance the ruling party’s access to governmental resources, such as the Civil Service.
Q. Should the state funding of political parties be raised to £25m/year?
Click: HERE to view the results.
(The results are archived by the British Library)