Short Money (Parliament, U.K.)

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Short Money is the common name given to the annual payment to Opposition parties in the United Kingdom House of Commons to help them with their costs. It is named after Edward Short (later Lord Glenamara), the then-Leader of the House of Commons who first proposed the payments. Cranborne Money is its counterpart in the House of Lords.


Short Money was introduced by the Harold Wilson Government of 1974–76 following a commitment in the Queen’s Speech of 12 March 1974: "My Ministers will consider the provision of financial assistance to enable Opposition parties more effectively to fulfil their Parliamentary functions".

Edward Short fleshed out the proposal in a statement on Members’ allowances in July 1974:


The current scheme is administered under a Resolution of the House of Commons of 26 May 1999. Short Money is made available to all opposition parties in the House of Commons that secured either at least two seats or one seat and more than 150,000 votes at the previous general election.

The scheme has three components:

  1. Funding to assist an opposition party in carrying out its Parliamentary business
  2. Funding for the opposition parties’ travel and associated expenses
  3. Funding for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office

Short Money is not available to parties whose Members have not sworn the Oath of Allegiance (such as Sinn Féin) because it was introduced to offer assistance for 'parliamentary duties'. A separate scheme (introduced on 8 February 2006) provides funds to parties 'represented by Members who have chosen not to take their seats', providing for 'expenses wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the employment of staff and related support to Members designated as that party’s spokesman in relation to the party’s representative business'. This is calculated on the same terms as Short Money.

Other opposition parties have access to Short Money to support parliamentary business only and no equivalent extension for representative work has been announced for them.

2009/2010 allocations[edit]

General funding for Opposition Parties 
From 1 April 2008, eligible parties receive £14,015 for every seat won at the last election plus £27.99 for every 200 votes gained by the party.
Travel Expenses for Opposition Parties 
From 1 April 2008, £153,956 is apportioned between each of the Opposition parties in the same proportion as the amount given to each of them under the 'General Funding' scheme set out above.
Leader of the Opposition’s Office 
£652,936 is available for the running costs of the Leader of the Opposition’s office for the financial year commencing on 1 April 2008. In addition, the Leader of the Opposition, the Opposition Chief Whip and the Assistant Opposition Whip receive a salary from public funds, on top of their parliamentary salary: £73,617, £41,370 and £26,624 respectively.
Short Money allocations, 2009/10, based on 2005 general election results
Political party General Travel Leader of the Opposition Total
Conservative £4,004,543.00 £100,427.12 £652,936.00 £4,757,906.12
Liberal Democrat £1,706,587.00 £42,798.30 N/A £1,749,385.30
SNP £141,777.00 £3,555.53 N/A £145,332.53
Plaid Cymru £66,508.00 £1,667.91 N/A £68,175.91
DUP £159,975.00 £4,011.90 N/A £163,986.90
SDLP £59,623.00 £1,495.24 N/A £61,118.24
Other parties' allocation under the 'representative business' scheme, 2009/10, based on 2005 general election results
Political party General Travel Leader of the Opposition Total
Sinn Féin £94,482.00 £2,340.13 N/A £96,822.13

2010/2011 allocations[edit]

As part of the Coalition it has been announced that the Liberal Democrats are no longer an Opposition Party, and so don't qualify for Short Money.[1]

Short Money allocations, 05/2010- 03/2011, based on 2010 general election results[2]
Political party General Travel Leader of the Opposition Total
Labour £4,462,554.00 £129,991.79 £604,493.00 £5,197,038.79
DUP £125,591.00 £3,658.39 N/A £129,249.39
Green £49,873.00 £1,452.79 N/A £51,325.79
Plaid Cymru £60,328.00 £1,757.31 N/A £62,085.31
SDLP £53,280.00 £1,552.02 N/A £54,832.02
SNP £141,489.00 £4,121.49 N/A £145,610.49

The Labour Party UK now in opposition will receive £5,481,607.67 from May 2011 (excluding travel).

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^

External links[edit]

  • Short Money — Research notes from the UK Parliament website (PDF)