Over the last few years there has been an increasingly common pattern in the party of asking or expecting councillors to contribute sums to their local party or council group to help pay for the campaigning that got them elected and for other support. The standard request is for the equivalent of 10% of what they receive in allowances (often with adjustments for less well off councillors).
As Michael Crick reports, Liberal Democrat ministers are taking a similar approach:
Nick Clegg and his 19 fellow Liberal Democrat ministers are giving around 10% of their ministerial salaries to the party.
“We are asked [to do it] rather than have to,” one minister tells me. “Much like councillors in local authorities who are usually asked to pay something to the party if they get an extra allowance.”