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Discussions to increase personal and party campaign spending

Discussions to increase personal and party campaign spending

Friday 16 February 2024

Discussions to increase personal and party campaign spending

Friday 16 February 2024


The cap for campaign spending for individual candidates could be increased by inflation for the next election, while the limit for parties could rise by an even higher amount.

The States Assembly & Constitution Committee is ramping up preparations for the upcoming general election which is on 18 June 2025.

At the last election individuals were allowed to spend up to £6,000 of their own money on their campaign, while parties could spend £9,000. Those standing for a party were allowed to transfer half their personal allowance to the group, provided the top limit wasn’t exceeded.  

These could be raised, with President Deputy Carl Meerveld arguing that the party cap should increase more as the current limit is “so low it’s discouraging the formation of parties” and the States “shouldn’t be putting deliberate obstacles in the way of their formation. 

The Committee deferred a decision until next month, but final sign-off for any modifications will need to be given by the States Assembly.   

All three parties which fielded candidates in 2020 – The Guernsey Party, the Partnership of Independents, and the Alliance Party – didn’t spend the maximum £9,000 during the campaign.  

Deputy Simon Fairclough, a SACC member, said inflation should be the maximum rate of increase.He disagreed that parties should have a more substantial uplift: “I don’t see what’s to gain. 

The previous SACC raised eyebrows when it suggested setting the cap for individual expenditure at £9,000. Some deputies were concerned it would benefit incumbents and high-profile people in the community with more ability to spend. 

The States ultimately reduced the cap for 2020 to £6,000 through an amendment.  

It was also agreed that the centralised promotion of candidates should be done through a dedicated website, a three-minute video clip, and a combined manifesto booklet due to the high number of candidates in an island-wide voting system. 

Due to this public investment, SACC preferred removing the grant of £500 to each candidate, which could be claimed back for relevant items after the election.  

The States decided to reinstate the grant, but now the current SACC wants to attempt to remove it again because of the materials provided and to cut costs. 

states-chamber.jpg

Pictured: States members will vote on any changes to candidacy rules this year. 

Deputy John Gollop expressed concern that would disadvantage less well-off candidates, but officials said while barriers to standing shouldn’t be created the money had to have been spent first before being recuperated. 

It was also reported that a candidate previously attempted to claim for getting their nails done as part of the grant. 

Meanwhile, Deputy Meerveld said he was “reliably told” some people had put their names forward as they thought they would be paid £500 from the States “without having to do anything”. 

Talks were also held on reducing the length of the candidate nomination period from four to three days. Officials advised that a flurry of applications are submitted on the first and final day, with just “a trickle” in between. 

They added that the publication of the combined manifesto booklet needs to be prepared and mailed to every household punctually. 

It was agreed to allow two sides of A4 in the booklet for each person, the same as it was in 2020, for accessibility and cost reasons. 

The preferred day for nominations to open is 12 May, to avoid a clash with the 80th anniversary of Liberation Day. 

The new election website is expected to launch in March, with a series of events and awareness campaigns due to follow. 

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