Competing in the London elections is a pricey affair. Contesting the mayoralty requires a £10,000 deposit, refundable only if you get over 5% of first round votes.
The London-wide assembly seats have a similar requirement. Parties have to stump up £5,000 to get on the ballot, and need more than 2.5% of votes across London to get their money back.
So how much did the Greater London Authority (GLA) scoop up in lost deposits? £240,000, according to an authority flack, with £170,000 from mayoral deposits alone.
Similar deposit rules apply to borough assembly elections, but the councils collect and retain deposits. Marchamont lacks the time to contact all 33 relevant councils to check the amounts lost this time, but it must be a decent whack.
The GLA flack said that the elections would cost over £20m, but exact figures were not yet available. In this context the deposits are tiny. (Although there’s no rules that stipulate lost deposits must offset election costs.)
Deposits do not pay for elections, and they don’t prevent joke candidates and chancers from running. Their main effect is to make running for office even less affordable, tilting the game further in favour of the rich.