Mayor candidates given £47,000 spending limit - but where will they find the money?
Candidates hoping to stand for mayor of Birmingham will be set a strict spending limit of just over £47,000 each - but it's unclear where they will get the money from.
The parties have given no indication that they will actually be willing to fund mayoral campaigns. And with elections for police commissioners also taking place at the same time as the mayoral vote in November, they may simply not have the cash to splash out for leaflets and traditional mailshots.
The funding cap was revealed by Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell, who said candidates would be allowed to spend £2,362 plus 5.9p for every voter.
Birmingham has 762,690 registered voters, the city council tell me.
That makes a total budget of £47,630 per candidate. It applies to the election campaign in November, which will take place if residents vote "yes" to a mayor in a referendum in May.
Of course, this is the maximum limit. Candidates will be free to spend less.
And that's exactly what they may have to do. I'm told that potential candidates are not expecting to receive a windfall from party funds.
There is also concern that the usual army of willing volunteers who help candidates deliver leaflets may not be so eager to help in the mayoral campaign, in November, as they are for other election campaigns, which traditionally take place in May.
One result may be that free or almost-free campaigning over the internet becomes more important than ever.