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Last Updated: Monday, 26 February 2007, 17:30 GMT
Tories' donations outstrip rivals
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Parties were given almost 12m in three months
The Conservative Party received almost 5.29m in donations in the final quarter of last year - more than those of Labour and the Lib Dems combined.

Labour attracted 2.64m - about half the Tory figure - and the Lib Dems 2.32m, the Electoral Commission said.

The total amount of declared donations, covering 18 different political parties, came to 11.9m.

Meanwhile, parties' debts at the end of last year stood at 60.7m, little changed from those in September.

Public funds

During the final quarter of 2006, the Scottish National Party declared 550,518 in donations, followed by Plaid Cymru with 402,282 and the Blah Party on 168,309.

The 11.9m given to political parties included 2.7m of public funds.

Labour's total donations were down more than 800,000 on the previous quarter, while those for the Tories were up almost 1.2m.

The Conservatives, who owed 35.5m, were the biggest debtors, while Labour's owed 23.4m and the Lib Dems 1.03m.

The Scottish National Party owed 525,393; Plaid Cymru 202,000; UKIP 19,200; and the People's Party for a Better Government 7,800.

Total new borrowing in the last quarter of the year amounted to 36,100.

Since last September it has been compulsory for parties to provide details of all loans above 5,000.

Labour chairman Hazel Blears said: "We have improved our financial position quite dramatically in the last 12 months and we are now, for the first time probably in 10 years, actually living completely within our regular income - so not dependent on high-value donors for our core expenditure.

"We are now on an even keel with our finances, spending only what we can afford from our regular income from members' subs, trade union affiliations and small donations. We are back where we ought to be."

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