Scotland Office’s Mysterious Multi-Million Pound Payment For “Candidates Mailings”

Update 18:34 on 25/04/18: The Electoral Commission allows each candidate standing in an election to send one piece of campaign mail to every registered household free of charge, so I imagine that this spend would be the total for all candidates in Scotland.

While doing some research into spending by The Scotland Office into their spending on Social Media I stumbled across this rather interesting payment to the Royal Mail.

Image Showing £3 Million Payment for "Candidates Mailings"

The Payment of £3,001,316.17 was included in a breakdown of the Government Department’s spending for August 2017.The payment relates to a bill from Royal Mail dated June 20th 2017 and carries a description of “Candidates Mailing”. The link to the source is below:

See the Payment on Government Website.

Given the timing being so soon after last year’s snap General Election one has to assume this somehow relates to candidates standing at said election.

It raises some very interesting questions as to just why a department of the Westminster Government would be paying such a thing?

I am going to investigate this further and reach out to the Scotland Office for an explanation, so stay tuned folks.

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6 comments

  1. I tweeted a reply back to the tweet that led me to this article, but just to amplify a bit, I seem to recall that for the various WM, Holyrood, and local elections over the last two or three years, Conservatives have made much more use of Royal Mail to deliver leaflets, compared to any other party. I’ve accumulated nearly all my incoming leaflets in a heap, from which I can tell –
    – more leaflets from Tory than any other party
    – much higher incidence on Tory ones of leaflet being personally addressed (and although that would certainly be an enabler to Royal Mail personal delivery, I cannot, for the most part, say which ones were).

    Unfortunately, there is only one where I made a specific note on it of how it was delivered. That was “A Message from Ruth Davidson” , addressed personally to my wife and me, and delivered on 02 May 2017 in an envelope marked “. . delivered by Royal Mail C9 10077”. I presume that the code may reflect some specific category of delivery or price.

    1. Interesting, must keep leaflets next time as a record. £3million is a huge sum for mail.
      Something stinks.

  2. Although all candidates in parliamentary elections are allowed free postage for their own election address (they must meet the other costs of printing etc); it looks like it is the Government who foot the bill for the postage. According to one report it stated that the cost of the ‘free’ postage for election addresses in the 2010 General election in Scotland was £2,055,519.04. So add in some inflation etc, rise in postal charges and the £3 million you’ve identified could simply be the Govt (via the Scottish Office) paying for the postage costs of election addresses/ candidate mailings.

    Information from House of Commons Library: Election addresses
    Standard Note: SN/PC/06434

    1. 50% increase in 7 years, naw that seems dubious
      There are 3.95m voters in Scotland so nearly £1 per delivery, given that address has to be presented to Royal Mail pre addressed and sorted and given the bulk of this It is not unreasonable to assume cost would be less than that of second class stamp which is 56p

      1. You need to divide the cost per delivery again by the number of candidates in the voter’s constituency. The nearest similar thing I could find is that Royal Mail currently charges Local Authorities 23p per polling card delivered.

        1. each candidate has one ‘free’ election address; it’s up to them if they send it to every registered voter or to each household (or some other mixture – such as targeting first time voters); so it wouldn’t simply be one election address per voter – it would be one from each candidate – in most cases it could be 4 or 5 (SNP/ Labour/ Tory/ LibDem/another?) – at a minimum I would suspect 4 election addresses per household but potentially rising to 4 or 5 addresses per voter – that would easily eat up the £ 3 million mailing bill; and since the 2010 figures quoted above the Royal Mail has been privatised so there is no guarantee that any previous deals would now be in place regarding price.

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