§ Mr. Marlow
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what are a candidate's permitted expenses in a parliamentary election; whether any public money is involved; and how often the level of permitted expenses has been reviewed.
§ Mr. Mayhew
A parliamentary candidate's maximum permitted election expenses in a county constituency are £2,700 and 3.1p for each entry in the register of electors to be used at the election, or, in a borough constituency, £2,700 and 2.3p for each entry. These are the expenses incurred by a candidate or his agent on account of or in respect of the conduct on management of the election and do not involve public funds. The maximum permitted amounts are kept under review; since 1949, they have been increased in 1969, 1974, 1978 and 1982. In addition, candidates are allowed free delivery of one election address to each elector. At the general election in May 1979 the total cost of this service to public funds was £4,326,438.80 for the United Kingdom as a whole, that is an average of £1,680 per candidate, but this item is not regarded as forming part of a candidate's permitted election expenses.