Candidates reveal election costs
By Adam Wilshaw
BALLOON gas, car stickers and tonnes and tonnes of unsolicited material were recorded among the general election campaign costs in North Devon this year.
Every general election candidate is required by law to declare how much they spent on their campaign and how much they received in donations.Election spending is divided into two categories, which each have a maximum limit: the long campaign (maximum: Â£30,215), and the short campaign (maximum: Â£12,365).
The long campaign began on January 1, 2010 and ended on the date Parliament was dissolved, April 12. The short campaign covered the weeks between dissolution and polling day.A Journal analysis shows the three candidates in North Devon who took the top three positions in the vote were the top three spenders.Together, the candidates spent Â£68,859, but there were large variations among them â€” one candidate spent nothing at all.And while candidates spent tens of thousands of pounds on leaflet drops, the amount spent on debates was marginal.
The combined cost of all the leaflets and fliers which poured through our letterboxes was Â£45,676 (66 per cent of the total election spend).While the combined cost of public meetings was Â£419 (0.6 per cent of the total election spend).The Lib Dem and Tory candidates were largely funded by their respective parties while other candidates relied on local donations.The sitting MP, Nick Harvey, who comfortably held the seat for the Lib Dems, was the biggest spender, recording Â£26,574 overall.But the Conservative candidate, Philip Milton, who came second, spent almost as much: Â£23,078.Mr Milton also used more than Â£6,400 from his local financial advice business to fund his efforts.Although the names of people who made individual donations above Â£50 are in the public domain, the local authorities which hold the information, North Devon Council and Torridge District Council, said their addresses must remain secret under Electoral Commission rules.The election results were: Nick Harvey (Liberal Democrat): 24,305;Philip Milton (Conservative): 18,484; Steve Crowther (UKIP): 3,720;Mark Cann (Labour): 2,671;Lâ€™Anne Knight (Green Party): 697;Gary Marshall (British National Party): 614; Rodney Cann (Independent): 588;Nigel Vidler (English Democrat Party): 146;Gerrard Sables (Communist Party): 96.And the total amounts spent by each candidate were:Nick Harvey: Â£26,574Philip Milton: Â£23,078Stephen Crowther: Â£8,717Rodney Cann: Â£6,821Mark Cann: Â£1,325Lâ€™Anne Knight: Â£980Gerrard Sables: Â£964Gary Marshall: Â£400Nigel Vidler: Nothing
AND IN TORRIDGE:
THE general election candidates in Torridge and West Devon spent £68,811 on their campaigns.
The amount, broadly similar to how much was spent in North Devon, contained large differences among candidates.Every general election candidate is required by law to declare how much they spent on their campaign and how much they received in donations.Election spending is divided into two categories, which each have a maximum limit: the long campaign (maximum: Â£30,215), and the short campaign (maximum: Â£12,365).The long campaign began on January 1, 2010 and ended on the date Parliament was dissolved, April 12. The short campaign covered the weeks between dissolution and polling day.A Journal analysis shows the winner in Torridge and West Devon, Geoffrey Cox (Conservative), was easily the biggest spender, forking out almost Â£36,000 on his bid to remain MP.Mr Cox, a barrister, was also the candidate who provided the most financial assistance â€” Â£17,329 â€” to his own campaign.In comparison, the biggest spender in North Devon, the winner, Nick Harvey (Lib Dem), spent Â£26,574. His spending was met by his party.Only one candidate failed to submit any election return documents: the BNP candidate, Nick Baker, who came last in the poll.And the UKIP candidate, who came third, did not declare any donations.The returns, and any discrepancies, will now be analysed by the Electoral Commission.The combined cost of all the leaflets and fliers which poured through our letterboxes in Torridge and West Devon was Â£36,457, or 53 per cent of the total campaign spend.While the combined cost of public meetings was Â£304 â€” just 0.4 per cent of the total.The election results in Torridge and West Devon were:Geoffrey Cox (Conservative): 25,234Adam Symons (Lib Dem): 22,273Robin Julian (UKIP): 3,021Darren Jones (Labour): 2,917Cathrine Simmons (Green): 1,050Nick Baker (BNP): 766And the total amounts spent by each candidate were:Geoffrey Cox: Â£35,928Adam Symons: Â£27,266Darren Jones: Â£2,906Robin Julian: Â£1,863Cathrine Simmons: Â£848Nick Baker did not file any documents.