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Political Parties: Finance

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1084W, on political parties: finance, whether the Electoral Commission plans to commission consultants to assist it in its research on the operation of the political levy and political funds. (186069)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has no plans to commission consultants to assist this research, which is limited to considering the existing legislative framework and background information on how the political levy and political funds currently operate.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2008, Official Report, columns 181-2W, on political parties: finance, if he will place in the Library copies of the letters sent by the Electoral Commission to the (a) Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates in May 2007 and (b) Liberal Democrat leadership candidates in October 2007. (186071)

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission how much expenditure the Electoral Commission incurred in severance and redundancy pay in each year since the Commission was established. (186072)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the cost of severance and redundancy pay incurred in each calendar year since its establishment was as follows:

Expenditure (£)

Number of individuals

2001

0

0

2002

68,524

1

2003

0

0

2004

0

0

2005

61,642

2

2006

59,826

1

2007

203,905

11

2008

19,065

1

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1085W, on political parties: finance, what the timetable is for the Electoral Commission’s planned research into the political levy and political funds. (186100)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the research into trade union funding is limited to considering the existing legislative framework and background information on how the political levy and political funds currently operate.

The research will be completed following a meeting between Commission staff and the Certification Officer, expected to take place next month.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1085W, on political parties: finance, if the Electoral Commission will request Sir Hayden Phillips to submit his background work into trade union funds and political funds to assist the Commission's research into trade union political funds and political levies. (186183)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has made arrangements to meet officials who performed research on trade unions for the review of party funding recently completed by Sir Hayden Philips.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1085W, on political parties: finance, if the Electoral Commission will seek to obtain copies of constituency development plans made between the Labour Party and trades unions to assist its research into trade union political funds and the political levy. (186184)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it does not plan to obtain copies of constituency development plans made between the Labour party and trade unions as this is beyond the scope of the research.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Horsham of 25 January 2008, Official Report, column 2280W, on political parties: finance, if he will name the accounting units of the Labour Party which had accounting units below £25,000 in (a) 2004 and (b) 2007. (186286)

The Electoral Commission informs me that 578 out of 690 accounting units of the Labour Party responded in 2004 to confirm that their total income and gross expenditure for the 2003 financial year were below the reporting threshold of £25,000. A full list of those who responded has been placed in the library.

The Commission has reviewed the canvass of registered accounting units performed in 2007. The results of the canvass are incomplete and the Commission intends to update its records by working with the parties and undertaking a new canvass of accounting units in 2008.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Horsham of 25 January 2008, Official Report, column 2280W, on political parties: finance, if he will place in the Library copies of the accounts provided to the Commission by associations under the threshold. (186287)

The Electoral Commission informs me that these documents are held in paper form and copies can be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the accounts are available for inspection in the Electoral Commission’s London office on request.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, column 1084W, on political parties: finance, if the Electoral Commission will be inviting evidence from interested parties to assist the research into trade unions political funds and the political levy. (186288)

The Electoral Commission informs me that it has no plans to invite contributions from interested external parties.