Taxpayers are funding the Yes2AV campaign to the tune of £15million
Over the past three years, the Yes campaign’s largest donor – the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) – have received an astonishing £15.1 million from taxpayers through its various subsidiary companies including Electoral Reform Services Ltd (ERSL).
ERSL have earned at least £5.4 million from taxpayers in the last year alone. In the last three years ERSL has made over £12.6 million from at least 220 Local Authorities, £2.3 million from 67 NHS Foundation Trusts and over a quarter of a million pounds from Central Government.
ERS, in turn, has provided over £1 million in funding to the Yes to AV campaign, already recycling taxpayers’ money directly back into the referendum campaign.
This highlights the Yes campaign’s financial conflict of interest in campaigning for a yes vote. The biggest donors to Yes to AV are making money from the taxpayer and stand to make far more from an increased demand for AV-related services should ‘yes’ win.
Recent campaign literature that has been sent out by Yes to AV bears the ‘imprint’ of ‘Electoral Reform Services, The Election Centre, 33 Clarendon Road, London, N8 0NW’
The ERS conflict of interest also undermines the secrecy of referendum ballots: the Yes campaign have the opportunity to know which postal ballot has gone to which voter – and, potentially, whether any given person has voted.
Over the last three years, councils have paid the Yes campaign millions:
East Midlands £1,166,847
East of England £1,595,987
North East £178,768
North West £2,531,633
South East £2,039,879
South West £1,408,658
West Midlands £736,435
Yorks. & Humber £459,081
Matthew Elliott, Campaign Director of No2AV, said: “Voters will be outraged by the huge amounts of taxpayers’ money that are being channelled straight back into the Yes campaign. The Electoral Reform Society says there is no link between the two organisations, but their commercial wing are happy to trade off their name and are printing the Yes to AV leaflets. So, once again, we urge the Yes campaign to come clean about their conflict of interest and also to promise that their backers will not earn a penny from a Yes vote.”