Audit

Britain First fined for ‘failing’ to audit accounts

Britain First has been fined £44,200 by the Electoral Commission for “multiple breaches” of electoral law.

The group was registered as a political party until November 2017, and were judged to have failed to keep accurate financial records of its transactions in 2016. For breaking these rules, it received a fine of £11,000.

The group was fined £5,500 for failing to have its 2016 statement of accounts audited by a qualified auditor, a legal requirement when parties have an annual income or expenditure over £250,000. It received the maximum fine of £20,000 for failing to provide information to the Commission.

It also judged to have failed to provide quarterly donations reports for all quarters of 2016 and has been fined £7,700. The Commission found that around £200,000 worth of undeclared donations had been made during 2016. These donations are yet to be reported to the Commission.

Louise Edwards, director of regulation, said: “Today’s announcement concludes a thorough investigation into Britain First’s financial affairs which has resulted in us finding multiple breaches of the law.

“Registered political parties must provide full, accurate data on their donations and accounts so that voters can see where their money comes from. Britain First’s inability to meet certain basic requirements led to a disappointing lack of transparency into the party’s finances.”

Edwards added: “The party’s failure to comply with a statutory notice is a serious offence and shows a disregard for the law. Throughout our investigation, we saw little to suggest that Britain First appreciated that if it wants to contest elections, it must meet its legal responsibilities, which is why we have imposed the penalties that we have.”

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