Sources have suggested the Conservative party will be able to declare itself debt-free in the build-up to the general election next year.
Prior to the last election, official reports showed that the Conservatives held debts of around £8 million, having spent over £16 million on the campaign to get into office. But by the end of 2013, the party had reduced that total to £1.7 million and insiders expect that next month will see them make the last of their scheduled repayments. As such, the Electoral Commission will be able to announce the party as debt-free for the first time in their modern history.
The news will be welcomed by all those hoping to see the Conservatives remain in office next year, but will be a dent in Labour’s plans. According to the Electoral Commission, Labour’s debt total at the end of 2013 topped £12 million. Nearly ten times the debt of their Conservative counterparts, experts suggest the situation will leave Labour lagging behind when the election campaign begins in earnest. Worrying news for Labour, as recent history suggests that spending is key in securing Number 10: as already mentioned, the Conservatives’ spending prior to the 2010 election was over £16 million, whilst Labour’s was only £8 million – just half that of their rivals.
For Ed Miliband, it is the latest in a series of financial troubles for his Labour party. Having outlined plans earlier this year to restrict the party’s involvement with many of its long-standing union partners, debts have risen sharply. A Conservative party source told The Telegraph: “Both in Government and in the party, Conservatives are dealing with our debts to secure our long-term economic future. Meanwhile Labour are inflicting more spending and more debt on their members – exactly what they want to do to the country.”