THE last round of party political conferences ahead of a general election will start in Bournemouth when the Liberal Democrats arrive at the end of next week.

Party leader Nick Clegg will set out his stall to the electorate as his party brings its assembly to the BIC for the second year in a row.

It is estimated the event could boost the resort economy by £6.5 million, as delegates spend money in hotels, bars, restaurants and shops.

“That’s really working on the basis of about 6,000 delegates staying for an average of four nights,” said Peter Gunn, director of the BIC and Pavilion.

Last year, Mr Clegg garnered headlines with a package of tax cuts and a plea to disillusioned Labour voters to support his party rather than the Tories.

This year, he returns with opinion polls suggesting the Lib Dems have considerable ground to make up before they can hope to hold the balance of power at the next election.

A recent opinion poll has put the Conservatives on 43 per cent of the vote, Labour 26 and the Lib Dems 17.

The Lib Dems are the only major party to visit Bournemouth this year, and none of the main parties are due in town in 2011.

But Labour confirmed in the summer that it would be returning in 2013, taking over the BIC and the Pavilion after a six-year break.

BIC bosses expect to hear in the autumn whether the Conservatives and Lib Dems will be returning soon.