Sunday, 22 July 2007

Fair funding for MK?

Public funding of political parties is a topical issue with the ‘cash for honours’ scandal, but many people will be unaware that a Review has already reported on the issue of political funding.

The Hayden Phillips Review has recommended that donations from individuals should be capped at £50,000 but, to compensate for this, there should be greater funding allocated to political parties from the public purse. The Review recommends that parties should receive 50p a year for each vote cast for them in the most recent General Election, as well as 25p for every vote in elections to the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and the European Parliament.

However, only eligible parties will qualify for taxpayers’ money. To be eligible, parties must have two seats at Westminster or the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or European Parliament and therefore Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall and other small political parties will be excluded from the arrangement.

This proposal is manifestly unfair. Why should parties such as the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Greens all receive 50p per General Election vote – but not MK?

It will be a disgrace if the main parties and then parliament accept the report’s recommendations, which will further institutionalise inequality in Britain’s democratic system. The larger political parties already receive public funding through such mechanisms as policy development grants and in-kind support through free media time for political broadcasts – another part of the political process from which MK is excluded.

I have made representations to Hayden Phillips and the representatives of the three main political parties who are already involved in inter-party talks on this matter and I will keep and one and all posted on developments.


Bob Hayes said...

This proposal really makes me hopping mad - I'm down the post office later this morning to pay my tax and I'm absolutely sick of the way they think they can dip their hands into my pocket to fund something like this. It really follows their general line on everything, instead of cracking down on the fiddles they make everyone pay. I sometimes feel there is very little to differentiate between government and a protection racket - both offer to protect you and both both demand money with menaces.

Steve Horscroft said...

Surely the issue is whether the public should be paying to fund political parties at all? The responsibility should be on all political parties to present attractive policies and appeal to people to join them and therefore fund them. Running to the taxpayer (as membership falls) is not on. Further, money should be spent wisely on campaigns, not £20million on increasingly US style approaches. Funding based on votes also locks in a disadvantage based on the previous election results.