The independent elections watchdog
and regulator of party and election finance

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Political party spending at elections

There are rules that control spending by political parties at different types of elections. This page contains an overview of the rules at general elections to the following:

  • UK Parliament
  • European Parliament
  • Scottish Parliament
  • National Assembly for Wales
  • Northern Ireland Assembly

There are two types of spending by or on behalf of parties at certain elections:

Party campaign spending is authorised by a party to promote the party and its policies generally. For example, national newspaper adverts for the party, or leaflets explaining party policy. It also includes spending on promoting candidates at elections where the party nominates a list of candidates for a region, rather than individual candidates for local areas.

Rules on spending

There are limits on how much a party can spend on campaigning at certain elections. The limits vary by election type and are explained in our guidance for campaigners at each election.

At these elections, parties must keep a record of all their campaign spending. They must send us this information in a spending return after the election. Parties who spend over a certain amount must have this return independently audited.

We publish party spending returns online to ensure there is transparency about campaign spending at elections.

Guidance on party campaign spending

If you are an officer for a political party that has candidates standing at an election, please read our guidance on campaign spending for party officers.

Political parties, campaigning & donations