UKIP NI fined £3500 for breaking finance rules

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The Electoral Commission has fined UKIP Northern Ireland £3500 for breaking political finance rules.

The commission said the party was fined after it delivered an inaccurate spending return for the 2016 Northern Ireland Assembly election.

“The party delivered a nil return, and stated that all spending had been included in the individual returns delivered by candidates,” the commission said.

“However, some of that spending was party rather than candidate spending, and should have been reported by the party. The party has paid the fine.”

The Commission has also fined a number of parties with income or expenditure less than £250,000 that failed to deliver annual accounts on time.

It did not specify the names of those parties or the fines.

Bob Posner, Electoral Commission Director of Political Finance and Regulation, said: “Annual accounts are the only information available to voters providing an overview of a party’s finances. In the case of parties which do not receive donations above the reporting threshold, it is also the only information available to voters as to the party’s income. That being the case it is important that these parties deliver accounts, and do so on time. The majority of smaller parties do so and we will take action where others do not.

“The Commission has asked the Government to consider increasing the level of fines which can be imposed for these types of offences, in order to ensure there continues to be a deterrent to parties breaching the rules.”

There are further cases being considered, which will be published when completed.