CROYDON'S two main political parties - Labour and the Conservatives - spent almost half of their election funds last May in five of the borough's 24 wards, the Advertiser has found.
Spending in the battleground wards of Waddon, Addiscombe, New Addington, Fairfield and Ashburton represented 40 per cent of the total expenditure during the campaign.
The figures have been calculated from the expenses submitted to the Electoral Commission following the election on May 22, 2014, which are available to view by appointment at the Town Hall, Katharine Street.
We have used per candidate spending rather than the total amount spent on each ward as New Addington and Fieldway are each made up of two seats, rather than the other three-seat wards.
Labour spent highest trying to prise the three seats in Waddon away from the Conservatives, submitted spending returns of £791.91 per candidate. Next was Fairfield (£702.21) and Addiscombe (£685.75).
In fact, it spent four times as much in Waddon than in the six other Conservative-held wards in the south combined (£210.81). That includes £0 in Selsdon and Ballards.
The Conservatives, which went on to lose power in Croydon for the first time in eight years, concentrated on Waddon (£751.89) but also targeted New Addington (£710.71) and Addiscombe (£710.71).
They lost their only councillor in New Addington and failed to wrestle any seats in Addiscombe away from Labour.
While its expenditure in Labour-controlled Croydon North appears not as low as its rivals spent in the south of the borough, the vast majority of its costs in West Thornton and Selhurst, for example, were borough-wide expenses, such as office and administration, as well as two four-page adverts taken out in the Croydon Guardian as a combined cost of £5,000.
The Advertiser revealed earlier this week that Labour did not declare the wrap around front page advertisement it took out in the same paper on May 14 in its local election expenses.
Nor was the estimated £2,000 bill included in its returns for the European election, which occurred on the same night.
The Electoral Commission is considering whether to launch a formal investigation.
In total, Labour spent £21,892 and the Conservatives £21,224.13 during the local election campaign.
Spending by political parties during election campaigns is monitored by the Electoral Commission. During local authority candidates must abide by a spending limit for each ward - £740 plus 6p per elector. Ward-specific spending, such as leaflets promoting specific candidates, is applied to the area in question, while general expenditure, such as administration and office costs, is shared across the borough as a whole.