UKIP could be in line for a £5m taxpayer-funded windfall following the general election. The ‘Short Money’ is paid by the House of Commons to every opposition party to compensate them for not having departmental staff to call on in the same way government ministers do.
To qualify, a party has to have at least two MPs elected at the general election, or win one seat plus at least 150,000 votes nationally. UKIP has never qualified for the grants before as they only ever had three MPs, all of whom defected whilst in office. However, at next week’s election the party is guaranteed to qualify, as it is polling ahead in a number of seats and will get several million votes nationally.
Parties receive £14,015 a year for each MP elected, plus a share of £150k travel budget and £27.99 per 200 votes. UKIP is currently polling 18 percent and is expected to get about six seats. This would give them £860k a year. If Farage gets the number of MPs into double figures the annual payment would be around £1m a year, or £5m over the time of the Parliament.
UKIP has been quiet about its prospects in the general election. Breitbart London understands this is because senior party officials are more focused on the overall number of votes, as this brings in more cash. They are said to think the money will be a “game changer” as it ends UKIP’s financial problems once and for all.
For years UKIP has struggled for money, and has even been in trouble for using European Parliamentary Staff to undertake party functions.
Nigel Farage has long complained that it is almost impossible to raise money to run the day-to-day affairs of UKIP. Donors are said to be much more interested in funding projects like poster campaigns than run of the mill work like the cost of policy advisers in party HQ.
The party has been boosted by some very large donations recently, but Short Money would provide a regular income.
One party official said: “If we can bring in £1m a year, it’s a game changer. That’s the real prize in the election. We all know we’re going to get at least five seats, but how much money we can bring in is also important.”