Donations update reveals full scale of Tory attack on Labour funding

Almost all of Labour’s funding streams are under threat from Tory legislation, new party donation figures show, in moves described as designed to “rig” the political system.

The Electoral Commission today published political party funding figures for the period of October to December last year, revealing that the Tories raised almost twice as much as Labour from non-publicly funded donations.

The numbers indicate how much Labour has come to rely on Short Money, the payments made to opposition parties to help with running costs. Under Conservative plans, Labour stand to lose a fifth of its Short Money funding.

Of the remaining £2.7 million Labour raised, £2.1 million came from trade unions – and much of that funding is at risk due to the Tories’ Trade Union Bill. Labour is expected to lose out on funding of around £8 millionfrom these changes.

Meanwhile, the Tories raised £5.2 million from private donors, with £2.2 million coming from just 49 wealthy backers.

Shadow minister Jon Ashworth said that the figures “show the extent of the Tories’ unfair and partisan moves to rig the political system and give themselves an unfair advantage.”

“Through the Trade Union Bill and cuts to Short Money the Tories are using their parliamentary majority to deliver partial party funding reform and damage the opposition, while leaving their own funding base untouched,” he said.

He added: “The Tories are using every trick in the book to keep themselves in power and Labour will oppose these moves every step of the way.”

This follows further accusations of Tory attempts to use new legislation to cement their place in power, afterhundreds of thousands of people were shown to have fallen off the electoral register.

Ashworth also highlighted how the Tories many came from a small number of mega-rich donors.

“In the final quarter of 2015 the Conservative Party raised a staggering £2.2 million from just 49 members of the exclusive ‘Leaders Group’ of donors,” he said. “In contrast Labour is proud to be supported by millions of working people, from teaching assistants to supermarket workers, builders to manufacturing workers, to name but a few.”

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