Discuss the view that there should be more state funding for political parties.

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Discuss the view that there should be more state funding for political parties.

Thomas Smith 6F3

Parties in the United Kingdom today are funded in a variety of ways. Parties rely on a number of things to generate income. Party membership, trade unions and donations from wealthy individuals are all examples of ways parties do this. State funding, an idea of citizens in the UK paying a sum of money to the government to bankroll parties, is a topic today that is widely debated in the political side of the nation, and many, including I, believe it to be an advance which is highly recommended in government today. The reason why it is debated is because it holds both advantages and disadvantages, with strong arguments on both sides of the debate, which will be explored in this essay.

I for one agree to the idea of state funding for the following reasons. State funding brings about a number of assets to the government. Arguably the biggest advantage is that it will largely prevent something which has been controversial and talked about for a long time- parties relying on donations from wealthy individuals. The removal of this would be effective, as it has been much speculated that those who donate a lot of money to the government can have some sort of political influence- as was with Bernie Ecclestone when he donated £1 million to the Labour Party which may (and probably did) result in a subsequent delay in the introduction of the ban on tobacco advertising in Formula 1. Such controversy in politics is simply unacceptable, hence why preventing outsiders to have a say in politics, with the help of state funding, brings about a major advantage. After all, Britain is a democracy, and fairness and justness must not be undermined.  

State funding would also allow politicians to focus on representing their own constituencies. After receiving money from the people they represent in these constituencies, they would have the resources and more incentive to represent their people, who have after all effectively given money to help the MP’s. You could call state funding a natural and necessary cost of democracy- as political parties and candidates need money for their electoral campaigns and to prepare policy decisions and to pay professional staff. If a country wants to have stable political parties and/or independent candidates, some argue that they also need to be prepared to help pay for them.

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Another advantage of state funding is that poorer parties who do not receive as much income as Labour and the Conservatives (i.e. the Liberal Democrats) would finally be able to compete on a (relatively) equal financial footing, as all three parties would be getting around the same amount of money from the public and, as previously mentioned, individual donations would be prevented. This again highlights the essence of fairness in British democracy today. Another advantage of state funding worth mentioning is that with state funding, the public can encourage or demand changes in how the country is run. In ...

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