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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Section 134 : Meaning of “election expenses”

230.Restrictions on candidates’ expenses are currently imposed by Part II of the Representation of the People Act 1983. For the purposes of that Part, section 118 of the 1983 Act defines “election expenses” in relation to an election as “expenses incurred, whether before, during or after the election on account of or in respect of the conduct of management of the election”.

231.The purpose of section 134 which inserts new section  90A to 90D, is to clarify the meaning of “election expenses”. In particular, these new sections provide for benefits in kind given to candidates to be regarded as election expenses. In doing so, they bring the 1983 Act’s treatment of notional expenses into line with the provisions of this Act in respect of campaign expenditure by political parties, controlled expenditure by third parties (as defined in Part VI) and referendum expenses by permitted participants (as defined in Part VII).

232.New section 90A of the 1983 Act defines “election expenses” as any expenses incurred for the acquisition or use of property or for the provision of services or facilities used for the purposes of the candidate’s election. Subsection (3) provides for a number of exemptions from the definition of “election expenses”, including the payment of the candidate’s deposit, material relating to the election published in a newspaper or periodical or included in a broadcast service (other than advertisements), facilities made available to candidates under the 1983 Act (for example, free mailing facilities), and the provision of services by a person free of charge and in his own time.

233.New section 90B is concerned with the calculation of election expenses incurred for the purposes of new section 90A. Subsection (1) deals with the valuation of property, goods, services or facilities acquired direct by the candidate or his agent. Subsection (2) is concerned with the apportionment of the cost of property, goods, services or facilities which is or are not used exclusively for the purposes of the candidate’s election. Such apportionment may be appropriate, for example, where parliamentary and local government elections are held on the same day and a party’s candidates for such elections jointly acquire premises to act as their campaign headquarters in respect of both elections.

234.New section 90C makes provision for treating as election expenses the value of any property, goods, services or facilities provided for the use of a candidate either free of charge or at a substantial discount. New section 90D modifies the application of sections 90A to 90C to fit the circumstances of an election of the London members of the London Assembly.

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