Our Spring magazine is finally here! Click here to view and read our new articles!

Members only: an economic guide to political party membership for a student

Image credit: http://maidencitysoccer.net/
Image credit: http://maidencitysoccer.net/
Image credit: http://maidencitysoccer.net/

With seven political parties appearing in some form of televised debate prior to the general election, and the “they’re all the same” criticism as strong as ever, it can be difficult to decide the party to which one lends one’s support. For a change, let’s put politics aside and look into how much it costs for students, and others, to become members of several of the United Kingdom’s political parties.

The Labour Party offers membership to those aged between twenty and twenty-six at £1 monthly; those between the ages of fourteen and nineteen pay the same fee yearly, as do armed services personnel. The retired and unemployed pay a slightly more expensive fee of £1.96 monthly. A standard membership costs £3.88 monthly. The Labour Party is also the first party that mentions a special fee for trade union members on their website, at £1.96 monthly.

The United Kingdom Independence Party offers membership at £30 for a year, or £125 for five years; but for those under the age of twenty-two, membership for a year costs a tiny £2, and £5 for members of the armed services. What a bargain!

The Welsh nationalists don’t seem to make a distinction for students. To join Plaid Cymru, a minimum £2 payment is required monthly.

Seemingly extinct from politics, the British National Party charges the “unwaged” (I presume this includes students) £2.50 monthly to be a member, the same rate as enjoyed by old age pensioners. Anyone between the ages of 13 – 18 can be a member for a year for £5.

A standard Conservative Party membership costs £25, though members of the armed services pay £10 less than that. For those of us under the age of twenty-three a membership costs £5, with “Full Party membership – and all associated benefits” and those who simply wish to be known as “friends” of the party can pay £1. However, the website doesn’t quite say if this fee is paid monthly or yearly.

Anyone younger than the age of twenty-six, or students like us, can join the Liberal Democrats for just £1 a year. Their members are apparently different from other parties’ members – they can “vote on our policies, elect our leaders and give their communities a voice”. I can only say that an expected Liberal Democrat membership is £70 yearly without committing myself to membership to find out.

Full-time students would pay £5 annually to the Green Party. The Greens offer special rates for ‘joint’ members which “applies to two people at one address”. Any individuals on a low income would pay £10.50 yearly for membership, whereas the standard membership for an individual is £31.

An old article from the website of the Scottish Nationalist Party states that students can join the party for free, a measure made in response to the 2010 rise in tuition fees, however the quote from Angus Robertson MP seems to state that this offer was only in effect from 10th of December until Christmas that year. For those who don’t qualify for a reduced wage (being unemployed, under the age of fifteen or over the age of sixty-five), the minimum a member must pay annually is £12. The unwaged and the elderly pay a minimum of £5 yearly whereas the under-fifteens pay £2.

All information is correct at the time of publication.