Lib Dems outperform Labour on private donations, notes the FT

Good to see a bit of media recognition today which overtly acknowledges our now consistent out-performing of Labour on private fundraising efforts. The Financial Times reports:

Private and company donations to Labour have plummeted to a 10th of their pre-election average in the first six months of Ed Miliband’s leadership, according to research by the Financial Times.

Many former donors have turned their backs on the opposition party, leaving it increasingly reliant on unions, which provide the bulk of its private income.

Labour’s corporate and individual donations of £248,577 for the half-year to March were dwarfed even by those to the Liberal Democrat party, which received £871,019, according to data from the Electoral Commission. Instead, the majority of Labour’s income was from unions (£4.7m) and the taxpayer’s contribution to opposition party costs (£5.7m).

The trend partly reflects the fickleness of donors for a party that entered opposition last year for the first time in 13 years. But it comes amid uncertainty among corporate leaders and former donors over whether Mr Miliband is genuinely pro-business and understands their concerns.

You can read the full piece at

As Stephen Tall blogged last week, Labour and the Conservatives’ donations from big business and the unions far exceed ours – however the Liberal Democrats have now outstripped Labour in private donor fundraising in 4 out of the last 5 quarterly returns and for the last three consecutive returns.

And Jim Pickard says of Labour at the FT’s Westminster Blog:

Only thanks to the unions (£4.7m) and state funding (£5.7m) is the party staying afloat.

The Liberal Democrats’ fundraising strategy was overhauled in September 2009 for the General Election and a new ambitious post-election programme was put in place last summer that looked at overcoming the loss of Short Money as well as allowing the Party to compete effectively over the coming years while in Government.

It’s worth remembering that the Liberal Democrats had by far the biggest bang for buck, according to the Electoral Commission report on campaign expenditure in the 2010 General Election. Of the £59m spent on the election, we returned 23% of the votes for 15% of the total expenditure. The Conservatives having spent 53% of the money and Labour 35% – returned 35.1% and 29% respectively of the vote share. This just shows how carefully each and every decision is made on how to use the money donated.

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This entry was posted in News and Party policy and internal matters.


  • paul barker 6th Jun '11 - 8:03pm

    At the moment then, Labour get more than half their income (53%) from The State. I hadnt realised that.

  • Foregone Conclusion 6th Jun '11 - 8:27pm

    Perhaps business supports us more than Labour because they believe that we have better answers on the economy?

    It is certainly bizarre that half of Labour’s money is coming from the government (I think this is a bad thing!) Did we get anywhere near as much when we were in opposition?

  • Malcolm Todd 6th Jun '11 - 10:22pm

    Business overwhelmingly gives money to parties that are in government or that they expect to be in government in the near future – because they are looking out for their private interest and know that buying influence in a party that is not going to be in power for at least four years is a waste of money, not because they “believe that we have better answers on the economy”. This is nothing to crow about.

  • Andy Dowland 6th Jun '11 - 11:28pm

    @Foregone Conclusion – The Lib Dems didn’t get as much Short Money as Labour do now as it’s based on the number of seats in the House of Commons and votes in the previous general election. But in the equivalent period last Parliament (Quarter 1, 2006) the Lib Dems got £257k in donations and £399k in Short Money.

  • What’s the LD figure minus Paul Marshall?

  • Is it not law for unions to ask each member to opt in or opt out of donations to political parties, I even think they choose which political party they want their donation to go…
    That’s about 2.5million working people, each choosing to make a small contribution?
    Or are they not counted as private individual donations to the political party of their choice?

    Strange way to add up figures…

    but if thats the way you out perform…well done.


    ConHome has a piece on this.

    I notice a certain David (C) Allen has given £50k to the Conservative Party.

  • Selling out is clearly lucrative 🙂

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