Election losses leave Lib Dems severely out of pocket
Last week's huge election losses will deal a huge blow to the Liberal Democrats financially.
For many years now the Lib Dems have automatically levied a 10% tithe on all their elected officials on the income they get from politics - councillors, MPs, MSPs, MEPs, and even government ministers.
The basic allowance for councillor varies between £4,000 and £9,000 a year, depending on the size of council, with many of them getting towards the upper end of the bracket. The party lost 695 council seats, so that means a loss of up to £625,500 a year.
Then there are the 12 Lib Dem MSPs who lost their seats in the Scottish Parliament, each earning more than £53,000 and one AM in the Welsh Assembly earning around £53,000. So this amounts to approximately another £70,000 in lost tithes to the party.
In all, I estimate the financial loss could be as much as £695,500 a year. Every year for the next four years.
And this comes after the Lib Dems suffered the huge blow last year of losing almost two million pounds a year in Short Money, the state subsidy paid to Westminster opposition parties. The overall effect on Lib Dem finances will be considerable, especially for a party which can't fall back on money from unions or big business.
On top of that the Liberal Democrats will lose paid staff - people working for council groups - and the two or so people working for each MSP. OK, much for their work has been constituency related, but don't tell me they weren't also doing lots of work for the party as well. And some of these staff were probably paying 10% tithes to the party too. If half do so, then that may lose the party thousands of pounds, if not tens of thousands.
What's more, many of the 695 Lib Dem defeated council members were effectively full-time councillors, using their council allowances to work all day, every day in politics, partly as councillors and partly as Lib Dem organisers and campaigners. Without their council seats and income, many will now be obliged to go and find full-time work elsewhere. Their state-subsidised labour will hence be lost to the party.
Last week's defeats involved more than just a political loss for the Lib Dems, but the party was also weakened in terms of money, manpower and organisation.
Conversely, Labour will gain from having another 800 councillors, since the party also extracts cash from his it's elected councillors, though not quite on the scale with which the Lib Dems organise it