LabourList have been on the ball this morning and have quickly posted up the accounts for registered political parties. For all that is except our friends the BNP, who always fail to get their accounts to the Electoral Commission in time, thereby incurring a fine. Not that I'm complaining.
Here are the figures for the main parties plus the significant minor parties for 2008:
Conservative Party Income £32,361,000, Expenditure £31,927,000
Green Party Income £546,406, Expenditure £540,652
Labour Party Income £34,012,000, Expenditure £26,202,000
Liberal Democrats Income £5,473,256, Expenditure £6,013,956
Plaid Cymru Income £998,571, Expenditure £678,313
Scottish Green Party Income £76,597, Expenditure £57,194
Scottish National Party Income £1,768,384, Expenditure £1,700,401
Sinn Féin Income £1,115,391, Expenditure £1,148,992
Ulster Unionist Party Income £383,504, Expenditure £397,734
UK Independence Party Income £602,003, Expenditure £588,570
What is most striking is the vast gulf separating Labour and the Tories (as the favoured parties of the British ruling class) from the LibDems, and then in turn the smaller but still very significant funding gap between them and the rest. For those of you interested in comparing the figures for 2008 with 2007's, you can go through the accounts individually here.
As a socialist blog and knowing my readers, I'm sure comrades too busy to sift through the accounts of allies and opponents on the far left might still want to know the state of play. So here they are with the +/- figures on 2007:
Alliance for Green Socialism Income £12,522 (+3,755), Expenditure £8,356 (-£503)
Communist Party of Britain Income £186,533 (+£82,494), Expenditure £138,220 (-£25,379)
Left List Income £103,773 (N/A), Expenditure £78,473 (N/A)
Respect Income £36,237 ( -£173,856), Expenditure £40,151 (-£162,457)
Scottish Socialist Party Income £78,167 (-£117,615), Expenditure £68,934 (-£141,973)
Solidarity Income £46,709 ( -£60,530), Expenditure £46,308 (-£72,052)
For some reason I couldn't open the accounts for the Socialist Labour Party and the SPGB. I've also missed off most of the smaller groups such as the RCPB-ML and Socialist Equality Party. One conundrum that has been scratching my brain is how Britain's other remaining Healyite organisation, still trading under the name of the Workers' Revolutionary Party, can sustain a daily newspaper no one reads with a party income no more than £5,442, an overall surplus of £640 and just over five grand in the bank! It's a mystery.
What is immediately obvious is how much Respect suffered in its split with the SWP. As the accounts note:
This is reflected in the drop of annual income from £210,093 to £36,237 and expenditure from £202,608 to £40,151. This fall in overall turn over reduced the national organisation to a shoestring operation that employed no full or part-time permanent staff in 2008. It also witnessed a fall in membership from 2,472 members in 2007 to just over 500 by end 2008.Turning to the SSP the party still has a large deficit of £40,649, which according to the accounts are due to fall this year. Again the accounts show a large drop in income (from 2007's £195,782 - which was inflated by £38,737 through a sale of party property) and 2007's expenditure of £210,907.
Similarly Solidarity continues to suffer from the split with the SSP, seeing its income tumble by over £60,000. However unlike the SSP, Solidarity is not burdened by crippling levels of debt. So while income and expenditure clearly reveal it is the smaller organisation, financially speaking Solidarity is more secure.
It is worth noting however that the 2007 incomes for both these organisations would have been inflated by the increase in donations received for the 2007 Holyrood elections. The same goes for expenditure.
What other nuggets have we gleaned from the accounts? Did you know the Democratic Socialist Alliance has 16 members? Has anyone heard of the Direct Democracy (Communist) Party? And who knew the cpgb-ml were planning on setting the world alight with their 'Proletarian' electoral front?