Election Expenses

Discussion in 'Society, Culture and Politics' started by classic33, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. classic33

    classic33 Senior Member

    Under the current regulations every person standing in one is entitled to claim back a certain amount. Varies mainly on the size of area being stood for, so much for each name on the register,* along with a set amount. In the average council election you'd be looking at around £1100 per candidate name.

    Upon production of the receipts and the purpose for those receipts, often vaugley worded with something like "Election Promotional Material" on the return. This includes those where only a name has been put forward, but you never see anything from that party/person. Election Return may still say something like "Election Promotional Material" along with a figure for money spent. But if nothing was ever sent out, where was the money spent?

    It's fairly easy, if you want to get a new computer, to do so under these rules. Along with many smaller items. Just have no-one question your return.

    Would it not be fairer, and a better use of the public pocket, if only the winning candidate was allowed to claim back their expenses. You'd not have parties putting "candidates" forward who have no intention of doing anything during the election. Not even turning up at the count.

    Think back to the last local election near you, how many names were put forward for your area. How many did you actually see anything from? With four or five standing in nearly every ward, it soon adds up.

    *And you thought it might just be for other reasons, like your vote on the day.
  2. Big Andy

    Big Andy Senior Member Staff Member

    I'm not sure I would agree that only the winner should be able to claim, however I think any expense claims should be accompanied by actual evidence of expenditure, receipts/invoices etc
  3. OP

    classic33 Senior Member

    It's the wide descriptions given to some items/services that actually prevents you checking what the receipt/invoice is actually for.

    Should a person who stands in name only be allowed to claim back expenses incurred. On return of the appropriate Return(with invoices/receipts) & Declaration? If they stood in name only, what expenditure could there be?
  4. Big Andy

    Big Andy Senior Member Staff Member

    If they stand in name only they wont be able to produce invoices for expenditure surely?
  5. OP

    classic33 Senior Member

    Everyone who stands has an expenses return and declaration to sign and return. Their expenses incurred during the election are covered by ever greying explanations. If they didn't spend anything on their campaign(Did nothing), then where was the money spent.

    Standing in name only, tends to be party candidates. Seldom questioned as to why they did nothing, and unless someone actually questions their return, there is nothing done to check it's correct. Getting receipts/invoices isn't that hard. The other parties seem to accept this as part and parcel of any election.
  6. Big Andy

    Big Andy Senior Member Staff Member

    Its the checking that needs improving and removing of greyness.
    If you only allow the winner to claim expenses you will find many valid and worthwhile candidates not bothering to stand. Independents and the like.
  7. Joey Shabadoo

    Joey Shabadoo Regular Member

    I've been an Election Agent - every single penny in our case was accounted for and documented. IIRC there would be a section on Election Promotional Material but then it was broken down into what each item was (10,000 full colour mailshot leaflets, 500 A4 Posters etc all with receipts).

    Running a campaign takes money and it's where the main parties use the system to squeeze out independents and new parties. They can spend more but, through economies of scale, pay less pro-rata. They can also bus in workers from all over the country to work the streets. The system is heavily weighted towards the main parties. I'd be against only reimbursing the winner but I see your point about paper candidates essentially providing a source of income for parties.
  8. OP

    classic33 Senior Member

    Stand as an Independent myself, and my return has to be as valid and complete as anyone elses, if not more so. First few were always questioned.

    @Joey Shabadoo, do you mean something like this?(Page break removed and the top of the second part only)
    Jezza likes this.
  9. Joey Shabadoo

    Joey Shabadoo Regular Member

    Yeah, that rings a bell.
  10. Sonic Budgie

    Sonic Budgie Active Member

    That's very interesting, sounds like you've done it a few times. Where have you stood Classic? How have you got on and what have the main points of your manifestos been?
  11. Jezza

    Jezza Regular Member

    Classic mate you seem to have election expenses the wrong way around.
    As a candidate I don't CLAIM any election expenses from anybody. As an Independent ( successfully elected) parish councillor I have to pay all my election expenses out of my own pocket and then I have to DECLARE them once spent. If I was a nominated Political Party candidate then the local party could contribute to my election expenses. However most candidates , party or otherwise, for council elections at whatever level...end up paying the lion's share themselves.
    Depending on which Tier* of election it is, each candidate or joint candidates is set a spend-limit that cannot be exceeded.
    Candidates ( win or lose) have to submit a return to the council's elections office after the election , within a set time; along with all receipts to show that you haven't gone over the maximum 'spend' permitted.
    No way could you claim for a 'new computer' from what little you are allowed to spend at Tier 1*.
    Not long since thrown out my last lot of election forms but I think it was about £600 plus a few pence for each elector on the roll. It has to be fair and right that every candidate submits a return to show that they have kept within the allowed expenses, otherwise a rich candidate might try to buy votes. I've never had my election-expenses returns 'called in' for investigation but I do know a candidate who that happened to and they really quizzed him. He was OK in the end but vowed to be "more careful" in future.

    *Tier 1 Parish Council election.
    Tier 2 District Council election.
    Tier 3 County Council election.
    Tier 4 Election to select an MP at a General Election or in a by-election.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2017
  12. Sonic Budgie

    Sonic Budgie Active Member

    Interesting. @classic33 , has it been done differently when you have done your expenses?
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