The SNP plunges more than £800,000 into the red as membership slumps08/26/2023
The SNP plunges more than £800,000 into the red as membership and donations slump while legal fees rocket amid the ongoing police probe into the party’s finances
- The SNP recorded a £804,278 deficit as membership and donations slumped
- The party now has just £46,039 in the bank after posting a £729,845 loss in 2021
The financial crisis engulfing the SNP was laid bare yesterday after it emerged the party plunged more than £800,000 into the red last year.
It recorded a deficit of £804,278 as membership and donations slumped, while legal fees rocketed amid the ongoing police probe into its finances.
First Minister Humza Yousaf insisted his party was on a ‘steady footing’. But the SNP was only able to state it can continue as a ‘going concern’ because it is withholding £837,600 of membership income it was due to hand to local branches.
The latest loss for 2022 follows a £729,845 deficit in the previous year – meaning it has spent all of the £1.3million reserves it had at the start of 2021. It has instead fallen into the red, with the SNP’s liabilities now outweighing its assets by £219,629.
The accounts show the party has only £46,039 in the bank – which would not be enough to repay £60,000 still owed to former chief executive Peter Murrell if he demanded his money back.
First Minister Humza Yousaf (pictured) insisted the SNP was on a ‘steady footing’ after it emerged the party recorded a £804,278 deficit last year
The value of the party’s motor-home – which was seized from Mr Murrell’s mother’s house as part of the police probe – also looks to have declined.
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The balance sheet showed vehicles worth £100,790 at the start of 2022 but the figure was only £64,506 at the end of 2022.
The SNP books further disclose membership numbers plunged by 8,662 in the first half of this year, piling more pressure on finances.
Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: ‘The SNP is a party in utter disarray with Scots looking on in disbelief as Humza Yousaf and his lieutenants try to keep this sinking boat afloat.
‘From police investigations to empty bank accounts, the SNP’s credibility is shot to pieces.’
The party’s liabilities include £1.23million owed to creditors, such as Mr Murrell who is still due £60,000 after providing a £107,620 loan in 2021 to ‘assist cashflow’.
The latest accounts state the party can continue as a ‘going concern’ despite its liabilities being bigger than the sum of its assets.
This is because £837,600 of its liabilities relate to dividends due to local branches, which receive 25 per cent of membership income.
The accounts note that ‘in practice branches will not draw on this to any extent that may be to the detriment of the party’s ability to meet obligations as they fall due’.
Asked yesterday if he accepts the SNP was technically insolvent, Mr Yousaf said: ‘No, I do not accept that as we are not in an insolvent position. My job is to ensure we are in a healthy position and any debt is manageable.’
Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon (left), her husband Peter Murrell (right) and ex-party treasurer Colin Beattie have all been arrested following the launch of an investigation into the SNP’s finances
On whether the party can afford to repay Mr Murrell’s loan, he said: ‘Every debt we owe, including the loan to Peter Murrell, we have a plan to pay those back in a way that is absolutely manageable.’
He admitted the SNP has been in ‘a tricky financial position’ but insisted he has ‘steadied the ship’ since becoming leader in March.
Mr Yousaf added: ‘We are on a steady footing and looking towards the general election. My job is to make sure we are in a healthy position to fight that election.’
The accounts made no mention of the £600,000 independence fund. The fund is part of the Operation Branchform investigation which is looking at where the money went.
Former SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Murrell and ex-party treasurer Colin Beattie have all been arrested and released without charge pending further investigations as part of the probe.
Scottish Tory chairman Craig Hoy said: ‘These accounts paint a grim picture and raise serious questions the SNP must answer.
‘The SNP also remains in debt to Peter Murrell, which is doubtless why Humza Yousaf failed to suspend him and his wife Nicola Sturgeon following their arrest.’
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