by Stephen Tall on July 29, 2014
The latest set of accounts for the Lib Dems have been published – I’ve uploaded it at the foot of this post. (You can compare it with last year’s here.) Here are 5 points that struck me I read through the document.
1) Party bounces back from deficit to surplus
Last year, the Lib Dems recorded a deficit of £410k (described then as a “disappointing result”). This year (ie, the year ending 31 Dec 2013), the party has recorded a healthy overall surplus of £439k, with £7.3m of income and £6.9m of expenditure.
2) Party membership is up
As the party has been keen to trumpet, Lib Dem membership figures are creeping up again: “Unusually for a party in government, the Party increased its membership by almost 1,000 over the course of the year. The increase was broadly based across the whole country and in every type of seat.” In 2012, membership stood at 42,501. It’s now 43,451, an increase of just over 2%.
3) Donations were up significantly
In 2012, the Lib Dems recorded £1.53m of donation income. In 2013, that soared to £2.54m. It will be interesting to see how resilient the Party’s fundraising income will now be following Chief Fundraiser Ibrahim Taguri’s departure to focus on his campaign to take over Sarah Teather’s Brent Central seat. Most other sources of income showed little change from 2012.
4) Big increase in campaign expenditure
In 2012, the Party spent just shy of £850k on campaigning. In 2013, that jumped to £1.3m. That increase was offset not only by donations, but also by an additional net c.£100k in conference income and a saving of £60k following the decision to pull the plug on Liberal Democrat News newspaper.
5) We’re massively out-spent by Labour and the Tories
If the Lib Dems’ healthier financial position is a source of some relief, it’s worth remembering what the Party is up against. Our income for the last year of £7.3m is dwarfed by Labour’s £33.3m and the Tories’ £25.3m. What is achieved on such meagre resources — thanks to the hard work of volunteers and paid staff in local parties as well as HQ — is deeply impressive.
Here’s the full Lib Dem Statement of Accounts…
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.