Corporations splash the cash for #SNP16 conference platform 


Campaign groups priced out of SNP’s major annual event 

UK AND GLOBAL corporations have paid tens of thousands of pounds for access to influence SNP delegates at the party’s 2016 Autumn conference. 

Increased costs to hold stalls and fringe events has pushed campaign groups out the official venue across the road from the exhibition centre in Glasgow to the city’s science centre, where over 40 groups will hold a parallel festival.

Costings for stalls, fringe, and programme advertising from corporate sources are at least £40,000, with further exclusive deals and a special corporate event likely to bring the party tens of thousands of pounds extra in revenue. 

Corporate groups who purchased stalls include the Association of British Bookmakers, Carillion plc, McDonald’s, and Royal Bank of Scotland.

Advertised stalls cost a minimum of £5,960 for outside groups without charitable status.

"Our parliament isn't immune from corporate interests" – MSPs debate the Lobbying Bill

Corporate groups with fringe events include the CBI, Oil and Gas UK, Santander, Charlotte street/Edinburgh airport (joint fringe), the Scotch Whisky Association, Coca Cola, EDF, and Scottish Gas.

Advertised fringes cost a minimum of £1,700, with ‘premier fringes’ costing just under £14,000. 

Advertised programme advertising was taken up by Charlotte Street Partners and Edinburgh airport, Ernst and Young, (half-page £1,600 each) and Scottish Power (two pages), and TSB bank (1 page) (£2,600 per full page). 

The Thursday night [13 October] of conference will host a “popular corporate day” with £2,000 ticket breakfast and lunch with the “opportunity to meet SNP policy makers in a friendly relaxed atmosphere” including “high-profile guests”. 

100 ticket sales would represent a massive financial windfall for the party, from those that can afford to pay for political access.

 Campaigners unveil 'Festival of Ideas' to coincide with SNP party conference in Glasgow

The party has also signed a special “commercial relationship” with Heathrow Airport, which includes a private airport-style lounge at the conference. This is likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds. 

The high costs of access led to a parallel event being set up at the Glasgow Science Centre with over 40 organisations at a self-funded ‘IdeasSpace’ featuring 17 fringe events. 

There has been consistent pressure to challenge the dominance of big business and big money in politics, both in Scotland and across the world.

In Scotland the Lobbying Act 2016 was passed, on the basis of achieving greater transparency. The Act was criticised for not going far enough.

Picture courtesy of OTA Photos 

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.