Free from fear or favour
No tracking. No cookies

Farage’s Reform in Line for Millions of Pounds in Taxpayer ‘Short Money’ Funding If It Picks Up Seats in Election

The party says it will ensure taxpayers’ money is never wasted

Nigel Farage
Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage. Photo: PA/Alamy

Newsletter offer

Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive editorial emails from the Byline Times Team.

Reform UK is in line for £1.1 million in public funds every year if it secures seats in Parliament in Thursday’s General Election. 

If the party win seven seats and around 5.2 million votes – as predicted by forecasters Electoral Calculus in new modelling today – the party would be entitled to around £5.5 million over the course of the next Parliament. This excludes taxpayer support for travel costs, as well as MPs’ own office budgets, salaries, and expenses. 

The Conservatives are in line to take a major hit. With the party projected to secure anywhere between 53 and 155 seats on Thursday – down dramatically from its 365-seat haul in 2019 – it is expected to receive substantially less in ‘Short Money’ funding compared to Labour’s time in opposition. 

Short Money, a scheme that provides funding for opposition parties in the UK Parliament, is allocated based on the number of seats and votes secured by each party. 

Labour, as the Official Opposition in the 2019 Parliament, received approximately £29 million in Short Money funding. In the 2023-24 financial year, Labour’s allocation was £7.6 million.

According to projections by Electoral Calculus, the Conservatives could find themselves in a much weaker position. Based on their predicted performance, the party could receive between £3.3 million and £6 million in Short Money funding for the first year of the next Parliament, depending on the number of seats and votes they secure.

Based on three projections for the party’s performance on Thursday, the Conservatives would have the following for first year of the next Parliament:

Short money is designed to help level the playing field between the government and the opposition, as the governing party is entitled to dozens of taxpayer-funded (political) special advisors, plus the full clout of the civil service. 

If the Liberal Democrats become the official opposition, which is an outside possibility, the party will be entitled to Leader of the Opposition Office Funding, while the Conservatives could lose it entirely. It is worth around £1 million per year.

Don’t miss a story

Dr Louise Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester who conducted the research with Byline Times, said: “Apart from potential battles with the Liberal Democrats, who may feel entitled to extra allocations if the seats are very close with the Conservatives, it will be hard to be in official opposition with a small number of MPs. 

“Short Money will be really important to ensure the opposition can actually function as opposition. So if the lower estimate is correct, the Conservatives will be in a much weaker position than Labour as the official opposition, because they just won’t have the same resources. 

“They’ll be employing far fewer staff in the party’s Westminster office. A sort of parallel here is that, when the Greens lost a lot of Short Money funding, they had to resort to crowdfunding to make sure they still had the capacity to keep [their one MP] Caroline Lucas going. 

“Obviously, any Short Money is a gain in the sense that they aren’t currently getting it. But they will struggle.” 

Dr Martin Baxter, who runs the Electoral Calculus modelling firm, added: “We’re predicting the Conservatives to get 61 seats on Thursday. It’s uncertain: at the lowest end they could get 22, or at the highest end 150. 

“Money is one thing. But if the Lib Dems overtake as official opposition, the Conservatives will lose deputy speakers, and they will get far fewer questions at PMQs. They would lose quite a lot if that happens. 

“It’s not certain that they will be in third place, but if they are, it will have big consequences.”

Anti-Conservative Tactical Voting Website for General Election Crashes Due to ‘Extremely High Demand’

The guide is designed to oust the Conservatives from Government – but smaller parties have questioned some of the recommendations

Interestingly, Labour Leader Keir Starmer may get far fewer votes than Jeremy Corbyn got in 2017 – but still a lot more than the Conservatives, and far more seats than Labour in 2017. 

This is partly due to the major splits in the Conservative vote with the rise of Reform UK, and Labour’s vote becoming more ‘efficient’ or evenly distributed across the country. 

Electoral Calculus predicts turnout at around 67%, with a potential 31 million votes cast. Labour is potentially in line for 12.4 million votes, the Conservatives 6.2 million, Reform 5.2 million votes, and the Lib Dems 3.6 million. 

MPs could decide to look again at the Short Money funding, reviewing the rates or the formula for how it is calculated. Short Money rates typically go up slightly every year to account for inflation. 

Subscribers Get More from JOSIAH

Josiah Mortimer also writes the On the Ground column, exclusive to the print edition of Byline Times.

So for more from him…

Written by

This article was filed under
, , , , ,