UK Political Parties See Surge in Donations Ahead of 2024 Election

Political funding reaches new heights as Tories and Labour attract mega-donors, narrowing the fundraising gap. Here’s the whole story. 

Political Windfall

At a time when the cost of living crisis is biting hard, and report after report has shown that poverty in the UK is increasing while individuals and families up and down the country are struggling to make ends meet, there is one group that is absolutely swimming in cash: political parties. 

According to figures from the Electoral Commission, donations to political parties in the UK nearly doubled in 2023, reaching a staggering £93 million. 

This surge in funding is particularly galling considering the dire financial straits that many across the country have found themselves in. 

Big Spenders

Meanwhile, it looks like the upcoming 2024 election may become the highest-spending democratic contest in British history. Being the leading two contenders, the Conservative and Labour parties emerged as the primary beneficiaries of this stupendous influx of donations.

In the last quarter of the year, the Tories raised a staggering £9.8 million, while Labour secured the only slightly less vast sum of £6 million in funding. According to the Labour Party, they celebrated 2023 as its most successful fundraising year to date. 


The main drivers of this monumental financial boost were new mega-donors, who threw their considerable weight behind the two major parties. For the Conservatives, healthcare tech entrepreneur Frank Hester and his company, the Phoenix Partnership (Leeds), contributed a substantial £10 million.

Meanwhile, Labour received significant backing from Gary Lubner, the former Autoglass boss. He contributed £4.5 million, making him the party’s largest donor for the year.

Not to be left out, 2023 was also a bumper year for female donors. Fran Perrin, daughter of peer David Sainsbury, emerged as Labour’s most significant female donor, with her substantial contributions exceeding £2.3 million.

Record-Breaking Sums

With the general election still officially unannounced, which is careening towards us all like a dangerous driver at night with their headlights off, both parties are poised to raise record-breaking sums in the run-up to it. 

The Conservatives, traditionally the better-funded party due to their close links to business and financial interests, have raised their spending limits for the pre-election period from £19 million to £34 million, indicating a potentially intense election battle, with money thrown around like the cannonballs of old. 

Louise Edwards, the Electoral Commission’s director of regulation, addressed the funding increase: “Over £93m in donations was accepted by political parties during 2023, nearly double the amount in the previous year. With a general election on the horizon, it’s not unusual to see a spike in donations as political parties begin to campaign.

She continued, “While there is no limit to what parties can raise, spending limits are in place ahead of elections to ensure a level playing field.”

Self Funding

Notably, some politicians have personally contributed to their own party’s coffers. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt bolstered his re-election prospects by donating £18,084 to his constituency Conservative party in November. Hunt’s significant financial support for his local party underscores the fierce competition in critical battlegrounds. 

He is facing a formidable challenge from the Liberal Democrats in his South West Surrey constituency, and if he were to lose his seat at the upcoming election, as the polls suggest is likely, he would be the first modern Chancellor to lose his seat in the House of Parliament. 

Well Underway

The surge in political donations in 2023 signifies that the election, though it hasn’t officially been announced, is well underway. With record-breaking sums of money pouring in and the fundraising gap between parties narrowing, the stage is set for a fiercely contested and well-funded 2024 election. 

Some have criticised the sheer amount of money spent on the election as making the political parties look even more out of touch than they would normally, as the country is still grappling with a cost-of-living crisis. 

However, despite the bad optics, the money will continue to pour in as both parties vie for power in what is widely predicted to be one of the most hotly contested elections in generations.

The post UK Political Parties See Surge in Donations Ahead of 2024 Election first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / chrisdorney.

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