Short Money – funding to support opposition parties – was introduced in 1975. 

Short Money is made available to all opposition parties in the House of Commons that secured either two seats, or one seat and more than 150,000 votes, at the previous General Election. Short Money is not available to parties whose Members have not sworn the oath. A separate analogous scheme, Representative Money, was introduced in 2006 for parties whose Members had not taken the oath.

The Short Money scheme has three components:

  • Funding to assist an opposition party in carrying out its Parliamentary business
  • Funding for the opposition parties’ travel and associated expenses
  • Funding for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office

The scheme is administered under a resolution of the House of 26 May 1999, as amended by a resolution of 23 March 2016, and consolidated and updated (PDF) by the Members Estimate Committee. 

The amounts available to the parties from the each of the three components in the financial year commencing 1 April 2023 are set out below:

  • General funding for Opposition Parties – the amount payable to qualifying parties is £21,438.33 for every seat won at the last General Election plus £42.82 [corrected on 8 Jan 24, previously reported as £38.75] for every 200 votes gained by the party.
  • Travel Expenses for Opposition Parties – the total amount payable for travel is £235,511.46. This is divided between each Opposition party in the same proportion as the amounts given under the general funding scheme set out above.
  • Leader of the Opposition’s Office£998,817.35 is available for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office.

Each component is uprated annually on 1 April by the percentage increase in the consumer price index in the year to the previous December. Allocations throughout a Parliament are based on the results of the previous General Election. In a general election year, amounts payable are revised, in the light of the results of the General Election. 

The funding available to parties with five or fewer Members is subject to a floor and ceiling, set at 50% and 150%, respectively, of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s (IPSA) staffing budget for non-London area MPs. For 2023/24, the staffing budget for non-London MPs is £236,170:

  • The floor is set at £118,085
  • The ceiling is set at £354,255

In the 2019 Parliament, three parties have five or fewer MPs. In 2023/24 the Green Party, with one MP, and Plaid Cymru, with four MPs (at the 2019 General Election), qualify for funding between the floor and ceiling.

The Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), with two MPs, is entitled to the minimum level of funding because the formula would have given them an amount below the floor.

The table below reports the amounts the qualifying political parties in the 2019 Parliament are able to claim in 2023/24. 

Short Money allocations, 2023/24 (£): annual limits

 

General

Travel

LOTO*

Total

DUP

223,747.04

5,550.56

229,297.60

Green Party (1)

206,763.29

5,129.23*

211,892.52

Labour Party

 6,529,135.56

 161,971.62

 998,817.35

 7,689,924.53

Liberal Democrats

1,027,220.87

25,482.84

1,052,703.71

Plaid Cymru (1)

118,553.44

2,941.10

121,494.54

SDLP (2)

118,085.00

2,929.32

121,014.32

Scottish National Party

1,270,045.29

31,506.75

1,301,552.04

Notes:

(1) Party has five or fewer MPs, funding not affected by floor or ceiling
(2) Party has five or fewer MPs, qualifies for floor level funding
LOTO is the Leader of the Opposition’s Office
* typo corrected, 8 Jan 24, previously given as £5,19.23
Source: House of Commons, Finance Portfolio and Performance Team

Parties claiming Short Money must provide the Accounting Officer of the House of Commons (the Clerk of the House) with an auditor’s certificate confirming that all expenses claimed were incurred exclusively in relation to the party’s Parliamentary business. In addition, parties have to provide information on staff employed and other costs funded through Short Money.

The required reports from qualifying parties from the 2016/17 financial year onwards can be found on the Financial Assistance to Opposition Parties section of the House of Commons’ Freedom of Information webpages.


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