©UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

Labour membership fell by 25,000 in 2022 – but party saw growth in income

The Labour Party’s financial statements for 2022 were released today, showing that party membership had shrunk from 432,000 in 2021 to 407,000 in 2022.

This was well below the recent membership peak recorded at the end of 2019 when there were 532,046 Labour members.

The report did highlight that overall revenue had risen for the party to £47.2 million, rising by more than £1.5 million since 2021 and it saw the party achieve a surplus of £2.7 million – a large improvement from the £5.2 million deficit seen last year. This means the party enjoyed one of its most financially successful years in recent history.

In the report, the party treasurer David Evans said “the Party remains ready to fight a General Election to deliver a Labour government at any time”.

The statements show that while revenue from membership decreased, revenue from fundraising saw a threefold increase. Most of this was generated from dinners, generating £323,000 for Labour in 2022 compared to £10,000 in 2021.

This arguably reflects the success of Labour’s “Prawn Cocktail Offensive 2.0”, designed to woo big business in support of Labour after the economic turbulence incited by the Conservative mini-budget in September 2022. 

The statements also reveal that the party reduced staffing costs by over £6 million in an effort to reduce costs, with Mr Evans saying “difficult decisions” had to be made.

Commenting on the Labour party accounts, a party spokesperson said: “Thanks to Keir Starmer’s leadership, the Labour party saw significant financial growth throughout 2022, and our finances have gone from strength to strength this year as we set out our five missions to transform Britain.”

They added: “The Labour party is a changed party that is serious about getting into government and building a better Britain.”

However, the Labour group Momentum has taken a more cynical analysis of the statements, saying: “When Keir Starmer ran for leader he celebrated Labour’s mass membership and pledged to build on the people-powered party built after 2015”. 

The group added: “Yet since then he has turned Labour back towards corporate donors and interests, rejecting member and union demands for popular, urgent policies like public ownership, while undermining their rights by stitching up parliamentary selections for loyalists.

“Britain already has a party funded by the few and serving the few: the Tories. We need a Labour Party funded by and run for the many, one that is true to its trade union roots and its founding mission.”

Labour’s 2022 financial results appear more positive than the Conservatives, which recorded a loss of £2.3 million in what was described as a “turbulent year” and saw income donations fall by £2.4 million within a year. 

The fall in donations reflects a fall in confidence seen within the Conservative party after 2022 saw three Conservative Prime Ministers, including Lizz Truss’ shortest serving premiership in history.