Labour outspent all the other political parties during 2013 and still had millions left over, according to figures published today by the Electoral Commission.
They show that the Labour Party had an income of £33,336,000 last year, and spent £27,870,000. The Conservatives lagged behind, with an income of £25,352,000 and expenditure of £23,507,000.
But the three wealthiest constituency parties in the UK are all in the Conservative heartlands in the south east. In Tunbridge Wells, where the local Tory MP Greg Clark has a majority of 15,576, the local party raised £716,656 last year – about 25 times what electoral law would allow them to spend locally in a general election campaign.
The only other constituency parties in the UK with an income above £250,000 were the Conservative associations in the Cities of London and Westminster, and in Kensington.
None of the other parties came anywhere near matching the wealth of the big two. The Liberal Democrats had an income of just over £7.3 million, and spent just under £6.9 million. UKIP’s income was a little under £2.5 million, of which the party spent all but £18,000.
Two parties spent more than they received. The SNP had the biggest gap in its finances, having spent nearly £2.8 million, from an income barely over £2 million. The Ulster Unionists overspent by £95,000 out of an income of £319,000.
Peter Wardle, Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission said: “We are pleased that, for the third year running, all the larger political parties have submitted their accounts to us by the statutory deadline. It is essential that parties continue to be transparent with their financial information so voters can see exactly how they are funded and how this money is spent.”