The (Draft) Proposal
It is vitally important that our elected officials represent the interests of their electorate regardless of their party politics, and that they can be held accountable to the general public. To that end, we propose the following framework for funding political parties within the UK, specifically in the way donations to the parties are accepted.
- Political parties should receive a fixed amount of public money for each vote they receive. The amount per vote should be linked to the rate of inflation and the total amount payable to any one party should be capped to prevent financial dominance of any one particular party.
- No political party is to accept a donation from a corporate entity. The definition of corporate entity is the same definition as used by HMRC.
- No political party is to accept a donation from any individual (UK Citizen or Foreign) except through public finance as indicated in clause 1.
- There should be a cap on membership fees for members of a political party.
Based on an estimated population of 65 Million of whom perhaps 70% are eligible to vote and a fixed amount of £3 per vote based on recent government recommendations, this gives a total cost to the UK tax payer of £136,500,000 over the term of government. This cost would represent the total available budget to be shared between all political parties for the purposes of election campaigning and the management of their political parties. This proposal does not affect issues of taxation or revenue generation for the purposes of public spending by the elected government.
If we impose a cap on the amount of money available to political parties then this will prevent any one party from gaining a financial "monopoly" within the political system. Based on a fixed number of UK voters, there is a fixed amount of public money that is potentially available. Any funds not allocated to a party could either be used to help smaller parties, or left in the public purse to be used for other public benefit.
The cost of £136.5 million every five years is a relatively small cost for UK taxpayers to bear and is equivalent to 60p a year per voter. We are told it represents a small fraction of the money that is currently spent by the political parties on management and election campaigning. Regardless of the accuracy of these claims, the immediate benefits for the general public in switching to the proposed model are potentially huge.
By funding political parties in the above manner, political party activities are directly related to the level of support they receive from the electorate. By limiting the donation to a fixed amount per vote, and prohibiting individual donations from being made, this guarentees that each and every vote carries the same weight regardless of who posted the vote, and prevents wealthy individuals from purchasing political influence. By preventing corporations from donating the proposed changes should ensure that it is the interests of the public that are put first.
Existing public funding should not be changed. Cranbourne Money paid by the House of Lords, and Short Money paid by the house of commons would continue as is. We welcome further discussion on the issue of membership fees.