How much does it cost to win a vote? £1.54 if it's for the Tories

The Conservatives outspent all the other parties combined on this year's general election, figures released by the Electoral Commission reveal.

The biggest change from the previous election was the dramatic depletion of the Labour campaign's war chest. It spent just over £8m on the three month campaign, less than half the £16.7m spent by the Tories. The figure for the Liberal Democrats was £4.8m, the most they have ever spent.

The Conservatives were so rich that one day they spent £5,532 projecting a picture of David Cameron onto London's Battersea Power Station.

They also invested thousands of pounds in ideas that were dropped before the public had even heard about them. M&S Saatchi billed them £3,466 for a poster to warn the public about the pitfalls of a hung Parliament.

There were also bills of more than £2,500 for ideas featuring a "double-headed donkey" – a reference to a famous cartoon by David Low ridiculing the Coalition Government of 1922.

The figures also reveal the problems Labour had attracting wealthy donors after Gordon Brown replaced Tony Blair as leader. In 2005 they were in a position to splash out £18m.

Among the items listed on the Tory campaign's returns are £140,000 worth of prizes for fund-raising auctions donated by the restaurateur Richard Caring, who was previously a Labour donor.

One embarrassment for Labour, which the Tories were quick to point out yesterday, is that bills for more than £35,000 for the use of ministerial cars during the campaign still have not been paid, after the legal deadline has passed.

But Labour countered that it was not their fault. A source at the party's HQ said civil servants sent the bill to Downing Street – apparently forgetting that Labour is no longer in power – so the invoices did not reach Labour until the deadline had been missed.

But at least the Labour Party can claim to have got better value for money, because each vote they gathered cost them an average of 93p, whereas the high-spending Tories gathered only one vote for every £1.54 they spent. The Lib Dems did even better, spending 70p per vote gained.

One item that did not go to waste was the £4,524 they spent on a bespoke pair of 5ft-high boots, which were used for a photo shoot that purported to show Gordon Brown crushing the economic recovery.

They also spent £188 on a mask of Tony Blair and more than £600 on Gordon Brown masks.

The Labour Party's campaign returns reveal that David Prescott, son of the former Deputy Prime Minister, was paid £17,500 in consultancy fees – £250 a day – for accompanying his father around the country on the "Go Fourth" campaign. This was on top of hotel bills and other costs.

Labour spent more than £1,600 on gas and inflator equipment for campaign balloons and £351 on six boxes of 60 bars of rock with the campaign slogan "A Future Fair for All" running through them.

Another £360 went on hiring a Mercedes S class limousine for a day for Alastair Campbell, who was also put up at Labour's expense for one night in a £340 hotel room. Everyone else in the Labour campaign team, apart from Gordon Brown, had to settle for a £118-a-night room that night.

One of the biggest items of expenditure for the Liberal Democrats was the £253,000 they were charged for private flights for Nick Clegg, Vice Cable and other senior party members. Maintaining Mr Clegg's website during the campaign cost more than £10,000.

Of the other parties, the biggest roller by far was the UK Independence Party, which spent £732,780 but won no seats. The Green Party invested £325,425, most of which went on the successful campaign to see Caroline Lucas elected as the first Green MP. The Scottish National Party spent £315,776, Plaid Cymru £144,933 and the BNP £29,460.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

£16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Housing Assistant

£16819 - £21063 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager - OTE £60,000

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In 2014, they launched the worl...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones