Political parties 'cost us £1.75 billion' a term.
[Daily Mail-Political Reporter-April 24-2008]
POLITICAL parties receive £1.75 billion of taxpayer's money between each general election, according to a study.
The research claims hidden State subsidies have soared in the past 40 years as the cost of MPs, MEPs, Councillors and Advisers has ballooned.
Political finance expert Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky said the £1.75 billion - more than £437 million annually over a normal four -year electoral cycle -was made up of direct payments, 'in kind' benefits such as free TV advertising, and councillors salaries and generous allowances.
But even that, he said, was a vast underestimate because he had not included benefits such as free premises, use of official cars and telephones.
He added: 'Since the late 1960s there has been a huge and ever continuing growth in such indirect state subsidies.'
Dr Pinto-Duschinsky's report for the Centre-Right Policy Exchange think-tank said there was evidence that taxpayer-funded benefits were used for
PARTY POLITICAL PURPOSES
-even though this was
STRICTLY AGAINST THE RULES.
A chunk of all this money and other forms of political subsidy found its way into
The research fellow at Brunel University' said his figures exposed as a
New Labour's claim that party funding needed reforming urgently because state aid for
was at a 'low level'.
His conclusions deal a severe blow to the Government's efforts to force taxpayers to pay an extra
£25MILLION A YEAR TO BANKROLL PARTIES
The report also dismissed the so-called 'arms race' in spending between parties -claiming overall spending had remained' surprisingly constant' when inflation was taken into account.
And he warned that increasing
would have a 'tonic effect ' on democracy - because if money became increasingly centralised the parties would have no incentive to recruit local members.
Tory spokesman Francis Maude said: Given the succession of funding scandals under New Labour Government, there is a strong case for a comprehensive
CAP ON DONATIONS
-covering individuals, companies and trade unions.
[Font Altered-Bolding & Underling Used-Comments in Brackets]