Search Legislation

Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Sections 85 to 87 : Controlled expenditure by third parties

184.The purpose of this Part is to apply restrictions upon election expenditure by third parties. Section 75 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 regulates the expenses which third parties may incur in promoting or procuring the election of a candidate in a particular constituency contest. This Part makes comparable provision in relation to national third party expenditure which is intended to generally promote or procure the election of a registered party and its candidates. Section 85(2) specifies the expenditure which is to be subject to the controls set out in this Part. “Controlled expenditure” is that incurred in connection with the production or publication of material which is made available to the public at large, or any section of the public, and which is designed to promote or procure the election of a particular registered party or a particular category of candidates, whether they be those standing in the name of a particular registered party or a group of candidates who, irrespective of party, share particular views.

185.Section 85(4) specifies that “controlled expenditure” includes expenses in relation to material designed to achieve its purpose by reducing support for other candidates or another party. It does not matter whether the material names the candidates or party which it is intended to benefit or disparage. In essence the test is whether the material can reasonably be regarded as intended to benefit a particular party’s electoral prospects. The cost of a poster campaign advocating a particular policy without explicitly supporting or attacking a named political party might nevertheless fall to be regarded as “controlled expenditure” if the policy in question was closely identified with a particular political party or group of candidates.

186.The controls set out in this Part apply to material affecting the electoral prospects of a political party or candidates in elections to the House of Commons, the European Parliament and the devolved legislatures. No limits are, as such, imposed on controlled expenditure by third parties in connection with local government elections, although any such expenditure incurred during the relevant campaign period for one of the above elections would count towards the expenditure limit for the election in question.

187.The expenditure controls would apply, under section 86(1), to expenditure in kind (that is to property, services or facilities provided for the use or benefit of the third party either free of charge or at a rate which is more than 10 per cent below their market value), where the market value of property etc. provided free of charge, or the difference between the rate charged and their true market value, is more than £200. When a third party incurs expenditure within the meaning of section 86(1), it will be required, under section 86(6), to make a declaration as to the value of the benefit for inclusion in a return as to controlled expenditure under section 96. Section 87 details certain types of expenditure which may be incurred by or on behalf of a third party, but which are not to be treated as controlled expenditure for the purposes of Part VI.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources