Party pooper

Low-level party funding 'a myth'
Political parties have benefited from "huge and ever continuing growth" in hidden state subsidies, says a study. It says parties already receive about £1.75bn of taxpayers' money every four years, including indirect subsidies like expenses and free TV ads. Its author, Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, said it was a "myth" that financial aid to political parties was low.

Dr Pinto-Duschinsky, a political finance expert at Brunel University, calculated the total cost of political parties to the taxpayer over a four-year electoral cycle, in a report for the Policy Exchange think tank. He said his £1.75bn figure was an under-estimate, as costs grew all the time and he had not included benefits like free premises, use of official cars and telephones.