Labour nearly ten times more in debt than the Tories
Labour is now over £10 million more in debt than the Conservative party, figures released today revealed.
Statistics for the third quarter of 2013 put the Labour party's outstanding loans at an eyewatering £12,317,275, after it managed to repay just £385,783 in the three-month period.
That compares with a £1,286,000 repayment from the Conservatives, which reduced its total outstanding loans to £1,783,933.
The development was instantly seized on by Tory supporters on Twitter as evidence of Labour's financial incompetence.
"That'll be the Wonga economy," one noted.
"You can now see why voters don't trust Labour with the economy," another commented.
Today's figures, released by the Electoral Commission watchdog, could prompt concerns in some quarters that the Tories are building up a warchest ahead of the coming general election campaign.
But the situation is actually worse than that, as the Tories' credit facilities are significantly larger than Labour's.
Ed Miliband's party suffered a £17,000 reduction in its outstanding credit facilities – otherwise known as its overdraft limit – to just £90,000.
That number is dwarfed by the Tories' maximum credit facility, which stands at £10,128,000.
The third quarter of 2013 saw the two parties register broadly similar donations.
The Conservatives received £3,275,185, just head of Labour's total donations of £3,157,751. The Liberal Democrats were given £798,408 over the period.
John Griffin, the founder of cab firm Addison Lee, upped his donations to the Tory party by providing £500,000.
"You make a donation if you think the party's philosophy is in your best interest," he told the London Loves Business website at the time of the cash-for-dinners scandal last year.
"I think the philosophy of the Conservative party is in the best interest of my business. Politically, I know the Conservative party will do more for businesses than the Labour party has done."
Griffin's was the third largest donation in the three months to September 30th.
Second was the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers, which gave the Labour party £618,849.
The biggest donation of the quarter, though, came from Unite, which paid Labour £777,740.
That prompted the Conservatives to point out the Labour party received 76% of their total donations in the quarter from Unite.
"If Ed Miliband is serious about standing up to Len McCluskey, he should re-open his inquiry into the Unite union's attempt to fix the Labour party selection in Falkirk," party co-chairman Grant Shapps said.
"If he's too weak to govern his party, Ed Miliband is too weak to govern the country, too weak to cut the deficit and too weak to fix the welfare system."