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Campaign spending and expenses

Candidates are limited in how much they can spend on their election campaigns to promote their candidacy or to criticise other candidates during what is known as 'the regulated period'. The limits apply to spending on activities in the following categories:

  • advertising
  • unsolicited material sent to voters
  • transport costs
  • public meetings
  • staff costs
  • accommodation costs
  • overheads and administration

In 2016, the limits on expenditure for the London elections were:

  • Mayoral candidates: £420,000
  • Constituency London Assembly Member candidates: £35,000
  • Londonwide Assembly Member candidates: £330,000 (for an individual independent candidate or political party list)

The regulated period for Mayoral candidates, Constituency London Assembly Member candidates and independent Londonwide Assembly Member candidates begins on the day after the date an individual officially becomes a candidate. For Londonwide Assembly Member candidates on a political party list, the regulated period begins on the day after the date the political party list is submitted to the Greater London Returning Officer.

Candidates have to declare their expenditure to the Greater London Returning Officer (Mayoral and Londonwide Assembly Member candidates) or the Constituency Returning Officer (Constituency London Assembly Member candidates) after the results have been declared. All expenditure has to be declared within 70 days for Mayoral and Londonwide Assembly Member candidates and 35 days for Constituency Assembly Member candidates.

Returns and declarations can be inspected at City Hall. If you wish to do so, please make an appointment by contacting London Elects. Copies of the returns or declarations and any accompanying documents can be supplied on payment of a fee of 20p per side per page. The formal notice of inspection of election is available to download from the statutory notices and elections timetable page.

There are also rules governing donations and loans which can be accepted either as a political party or a regulated donee (individual or group). These include things like from whom donations and loans can be accepted and what needs to be reported to the Electoral Commission.

More information about the rules on spending and donations, and the reporting requirements after the elections are available in the Electoral Commission’s guidance on spending and donations. Queries about the rules for candidates and political party spending and donations should be directed to the Party and Election Finance team at the Electoral Commission.

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