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Lack of funds stifle political parties’ capacity to engage with voters

12 May 2014

A new book, published by Policy Press this week, is the first to look at funding for UK election campaigns across the country’s main political parties.

A new book, published by Policy Press this week, is the first to look at funding for UK election campaigns across the country’s main political parties.

In Money and electoral politics: Local parties and funding in general elections, Ron Johnston and Charles Pattie explore financial differences across the UK’s three main parties in the four years leading up to the 2010 General Election.  

Using the latest research and previously unpublished material they examine how much local parties raise for election campaigns and find that the more money candidates spend then, the better their performance.  

Political parties are crucial to British democracy, providing the foundations for mobilising voters. Their constituency branches are key links between voters and Parliamentary candidates and their activities, especially around election campaigns, require two vital resources – people and money.

Analyses of their annual accounts, however, showed that many local parties were unable to raise all of the money that they were entitled to spend on such campaigns. This reveals an unhealthy picture of grassroots party organisation in which the capacity to engage effectively with many voters is concentrated in a relatively small number of constituencies and is likely to remain so.

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