Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 8, 2017

How Was Your GE Candidate Funded?

A few minutes ago, less than three hours to end of voting, I received this leaflet  [click to read]. Sam Currie clearly has some well-off backers if they can afford to provide transport to the polling stations? The Bureau Of Investigative Journalism has reported on election funding. Nearly 300 general election candidates, including 63 current and former MPs, have turned to crowdfunding sites to fund their campaigns, collectively aiming to raise nearly £900,000. SNP candidates, including the party’s deputy leader Angus Robertson and Alex Salmond, have collectively raised significantly more money than other parties’ candidates, despite running fewer appeals. Altogether 52 candidates have raised more than £150,000 so far.

Next up are Labour Party candidates, who have raised just over £85,000 across 68 appeals. The Green Party has 79 candidates running appeals, who have together raised just over £75,000.

In contrast just 12 Conservative candidates have so far raised less than £5,000 collectively using this type of fundraising. Louise Irvine, a GP from the National Health Action Party who is fighting to unseat health secretary Jeremy Hunt in Surrey, has beaten traditional party candidates to become the most successful fundraiser. She has raised more than £35,000. Electoral Commission rules state that candidates are only permitted to spend around £15,000 per election. Unlike traditional candidates, rather than saving her excess funds for future elections, Irvine has updated her campaign to inform donors that the money will be used to support the other four NHA candidates standing across the UK.

Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Ian Murray are also among the top ten most successful crowdfunders, having raised over £20,000 together. The Bureau Local analysed political fundraising on the four most used crowdfunding sites: Crowdfunder, JustGiving, GoFundMe and Crowdpac. In total 286 candidates – from all the main political parties as well as people running for fringe groups or as independents – have raised £422,108 so far.

On one site, Crowdfunder, more has been raised in the past five weeks than in eight months prior to the 2015 election. Some candidates and local party groups say they are using the money to print leaflets, deliver letters and distribute posters to voters. Other candidates state that they are using funds to buy targeted Facebook ads.

Paul Hilder, co-founder of crowdfunding platform Crowdpac, said a growth in political crowdfunding should be welcomed. “It’s far better for our democracy when politics is crowdfunded by small donors, instead of big donors calling all the shots,” he said. “Small donor crowdfunding really is the best possible way of funding politics”.

As well as individual candidates’ campaigns, we found an additional 61 local party crowdfunders, almost all of them on behalf of the Green Party. These fundraising efforts bring the total political crowdfunding total to £469,403. Local party funds are also used to pay for individual candidates’ campaigning, among other things. The Green Party brings in almost all its money through grassroots donations, declaring £42,000 from traditional “big donors” during this campaign. Altogether Green candidates and the party centrally have raised more than £330,000 through crowdfunding.


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