Here's an interesting thing... whilst out delivering Lib Dem election leaflets in an unnamed ward today we came across a dedicated set of deliverers shipped in from Oxford who told us that they'd been paid to deliver local election leaflets for one of the parties.
Now I couldn't possibly comment on who it might have been... but here's the thing, we know and we asked for the name of the company they were working for. I'll be informing the Returning Officer and I will be expecting this expense to be itemised and declared on this year's election returns.
To be above the minimum wage the cost of delivery must be above £45 per 1,000 and that's without adding a profit margin. A ward is about 3,000-5,000 households so a single whole ward leaflet delivery would cost at least 20% of the allowable election expenditure.
I would suggest that all candidates of whatever party check with their supporters across town and ask politely as we did anyone delivering an election leaflet to see if this is a widespread practice and get an idea of how much is actually going on. A genuine supporter would be more than happy to tell you that they are doing if in their own time for nowt.
Volunteers delivering is free and doesn't need to be declared. Paid delivery does.