The winning candidate for Selly Oak constituency in May’s General Election spent twice as much as his nearest rival to secure victory. Details of election expenses also reveal that Labour’s Steve McCabe spent £13813 on unsolicited leaflets and £165 on balloons.
Elections expenses are made available for public inspection in the two years following a general election. Recent controversy over Zac Goldsmith’s expenses promted bournvillevillage.com to visit Birmingham City Council’s election office to inspect the expenses for the candidates who represent us in Bournville.
Although each of the candidates worked within the rules there were omissions in the paperwork. Some paperwork revealing the origins of donations was missing from Nigel Dawkins’ (Conservative candidate) paperwork, along with some receipts. However, he was the only candidate to use any of his own funds to support his campaign with Labour and the Liberal Democrats using party funds.
David Radcliffe for the Lib Dems split some of the costs of his leaflets between the local election and the general, allowed under the rules but the subject of controversy in the Zac Goldsmith case. Like many of the candidates Radcliffe chose to spend much of his budget on leaflets. He placed some of the orders for printing with a firm belonging to fellow Liberal Democrat John Hemming, MP for Yardley.
How much each candidate is able to spend is calculated by the following formula: £600 + 5p per entry on the register of electors for the ward or division in which the candidate is standing. In Selly Oak that amounted to less than £12,000 for each periods of campaigning, so each main candidate was well within the limits. The campaign period is split into two halves: a ‘long’ campaign, pre-dissolution of Parliament and a ‘short’ campaign for the period after that. A breakdown of spend for Labour’s Steve McCabe’s long campaign was missing.
McCabe spent a total £14,565 across both periods of the campaign whilst election runner-up Nigel Dawkins spent £8,105 and David Radcliffe spent £3,542. Paul Bradshaw (who brought this subject to our attention) has started an investigation into election expenses in Birmingham. Channel 4 News have a useful guide to election expenses.
Our spreadsheet gives details of the candidates’ expenses:
Full spreadhseet here. Expenses for local elections are also available for inspection. Contact details for the City’s election office below but you must aply in writing beforehand, asking which candidates’ expenses you wish to look at and for what purpose. Paul Bradshaw has published a guide.
The Elections Office
150 Great Charles Street