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Good one Francis!

I really hope this is true. Many Tory activists will strongly support a U-turn on state funding by the Cameron leadership.

I have to say that I have been highly sceptical of the case for outright state funding of political parties, as it would be a little galling to see my taxes go to opposition parties at the same time as working hard for ours! However, I would be prepared to listen to the argument for some of the “matched funding” type of arrangement that seek to reward engagement – for example, limited tax relief on small donations, in the same vein as tax relief on charitable donations, would signal that putting your time and money into local democracy is a positive thing, while allowing you to keep control of where and when your money goes.

But more on topic, I am pleased to see Maude sticking to his guns on the donation cap. Incidentally, I would be more concerned about the “quid pro quo” that Labour demanded previously for accepting such a cap – the right to regulate all of our campaigning expenditure, not just in election periods. Local parties engaging with the electorate and working hard on peacetime campaigning is a good thing in itself (as well as being a huge electoral asset for us), additional bureaucracy on local parties is not.

I do believe that the future of our own party’s finances should involve an increasing proportion of our income being raised locally through more vigorous fundraising and spent locally on professional, efficient campaigning. This vision would of course require some voluntary levelling arrangements between target and non-target seats to ensure we deliver vital campaigns where they matter politically, something that would actually benefit from the buy-in that this would require from members. This would present a good challenge to those of us in local associations to raise our game in order to rise to this, and would be in keeping with our policy focus on localism and responsibility.

This sounds very promising indeed

To pay for the 2005 election campaign, Labour reached a deal with the unions called the Warwick Agreement. The unions stumped up £12 million to fund Labour's election campaign

That is the way Labour is supposed to work, though ..... Funded by ordinary working men and women to get their voices heard in parliament.

More union funding, not less!!

Comstock said - "That is the way Labour is supposed to work, though ..... Funded by ordinary working men and women to get their voices heard in parliament".

It's not "Labour" that should be funded by ordinary working people its political parties chosen by those people. As for getting their voices heard they haven't got a good deal!


I hope this is true although I do not support any extra state funding of political parties under any circumstances.Why should the taxpayer waste money on matched funding? Why should any political party which cannot rely on sufficant funding from its members survive?
I hope Francis Maude does not choose to oppose State Funding for narrow party advantage reasons but rather because it is wrong thing to do.

A political party that cannot attract sufficient funds from its supporters does not deserve to exist. No state funding for political parties, not even of the "matched funding" kind, is acceptable!

Why should the taxpayer waste money on matched funding?

Okay, it's devil's advocate time...

Out of curiosity, would you place tax relief on individual voluntary donations into the same bracket? My tax is still my money, something this government forgets. Hypothetically, if I wished the equivalent to the income tax that I had paid on a small amount of money I had freely given to a poitical party to follow my donation, is that not a reasonable recognition of my participation in democratic politics as a social good?

Surely the problem with Union funding, is that not all union members belong to the labour party do they?? And if that is the case, are those members that happy to give nulab such eyewatering amounts, some of which must be their subs.

You mean they have enough??????

Not often that I agree with Maude but I most assuredly do on this.Having said that the best solution still remains no state funding of political parties whatsoever. But since Labour have already perverted that principle, both through their dodgy deals with the Trade Unions as well as their levy of their Councillors allowances it looks like the genie is already out of the bottle on this one and a cap on donations is the best we can reasonably hope for.

I cannot agree with you that this is a U-Turn. 'No state funding unless...' is rather different than 'No state funding...'.

If there is full transparency over £1000 pounds donations then what is the problem? No state funding...period.

This looks like a step in the right direction to me. One for which ConservativeHome should take some of the credit.

However, we're not all the way there yet -- so keep pushing!

I oppose all state funding for political parties. This includes using Councillor allowances to pay for election expenses, which is a form of State funding through Council Tax. How does Maude feel on this issue? Perhaps this could be a question at the next Challenge the Chairman...

There should not be any general State funding of political parties. 'Market forces' should apply - if a party cannot sustain itself by popular support then there is no rationale for propping it up with taxpayers' money. That would have a better chance of getting parties to reconnect with the ordinary public.

Maude gets my backing, if that is what he says.

There should be less state funding of political parties and MPs. A glossy full colour Newsletter is delivered in my constituency from the Conservative MP. You might think the cost of designing, printing and delivering the newsletter is covered by the local wealthy Conservative Association. You would be wrong. The leaflet is funded by the IEP (ultimately the Taxpayer). The MP has refused to say how much the leaflets cost or who pays for distribution. Expenditure of this sort hardly makes for a level playing field, or help reduce taxation.

No state funding of political parties, no tax rebates, no matched funding, no free broadcasts either. I accept that each candidate could have his personal general election address delivered free to every household, because that applies equally to all candidates including independents - and they usually lose their deposits...

Matched funding is your money too Richard. I object to any of my tax going to political parties for whom I have a deep loathing such as Labour or the BNP. Equally I would not expect some ignorant,deluded Labour supporter to have to pay his or her tax to support the Conservative Party.Nor do I see any reason for political donations to be tax deductible. If for example ,a person gave to the Lib Dems what exactly is the benefit to the British State of making the donation tax deductible ? The exchequer would lose valuable money and if the Lib Dems were ever successful we would become part of some EU superstate! In other words Britain would be hit by a double whammy!

Malcolm, you are in an EU superstate, and unfortunately it was the Conservative Party who put you there.

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