HC Deb 11 March 1981 vol 1000 cc319-20W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how the payment of public funds to political parties operates; and to what extent the political parties in the House have had payments from these public funds over stated periods.

Mr. Pym

Financial assistance to Opposition parties in Parliament is governed by the resolutions of the House of Commons of 20 March 1975, 13 February 1978, and 12 November 1980. The substantive resolution of 1975 provides (a) that it shall be a condition of qualification for such assistance that a party must either have at least two Members elected to the House as members of that party at the preceding general election or that it has one such member and received at least 150,000 votes at that election, (b) that any party wishing to claim such assistance shall make to the Accounting Officer of the House a statement of the facts on which this claim is based; (c) that the cost of this provision shall be borne on the House of Commons Vote and (d) that parties making claims shall be required to certify to the Accounting Officer of the House that the expenses in respect of which assistance is claimed have been incurred exclusively in relation to that party's parliamentary business. From 1 July 1980 the formula for determining the annual amount of financial aid to any Opposition party in the House of Commons is as follows: £962.50 for each seat won by the party concerned plus £l.92½ for every 200 votes cast for it at the preceding general election provided that the maximum payable to any party shall not exceed £290,000.

Payments made to date in respect of the years ended on 31 December 1979 and 1980 are as follows:

1979 £ 1980 £
Labour Party 139,698.00 227,50000
Liberal Party 29,457.08 40,941.84
Scottish National Party 5,402.92 5,325.50
Plaid Cyrnru 1,893.53 914.10
Ulster Unionist Party 2,750.00 5,704.00
Ulster Democratic Unionist Party 1,352.15 2,039.40
Conservative Party 55,585.00
Social Democratic Labour Party 371.25
United Ulster Unionist Council 1.400.00