SNP in £800,000 deficit as donations and membership fees fall

The SNP's official accounts reveal the party's finances during the last year of Nicola Sturgeon's leadership.

SNP in £800,000 deficit as donations and membership fees fall in Nicola Sturgeon’s last year Peter Summers / Stringer via Getty Images

The SNP is in a deficit of more than £800,000 after recording a fall in income from membership and donations, the party’s official accounts reveal.

The party spent over £5m for the year ending December 31, 2022 – nearly £1m more the £4.2m it managed to raise.

This is up from a £730,000 deficit in 2021.

It’s the SNP’s second-largest-ever deficit and the biggest it has recorded in a non-parliamentary election year.

The party said “neither this deficit nor the balance sheet are out of keeping with other years in which nation-wide elections were fought, including 2021”.

It added: “It will be important to seek to return the party to a surplus in 2023 as we build towards the next general election”.

The accounts take in the last year Nicola Sturgeon was leader of the SNP and her husband, Peter Murrell, was chief executive.Getty Images

The Conservatives saw the biggest deficit with spending outstripping the money it raised by nearly £2.5m.

The party recorded its income as £30.6m but it spent more than £33m over the last financial year.

The Labour Party retained a surplus, spending £44.4m after raising £47m.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats also recorded a surplus of £291,287. Meanwhile, the Scottish Greens spent around £30,000 more than it raised (£566,443) and Scottish Labour was left £123,787 in the red after spending £897,786.

In its annual accounts, the SNP stated its membership had decreased by 9% in 2022 to 73,936 as of June 29.

And that was a fall from the more than 100,000 members the party had two years ago.

National treasurer Stuart McDonald – who replaced Colin Beattie after he resigned – pinned the slump on the cost of living crisis.

In his statement on the accounts, he said: “Public concern about the economy and job security has understandably impacted on membership income in 2022, with the soaring costs of living being given as the reason for cancelling or lowering membership payments.”

The SNP saw its income from donations and membership fees drop.iStock

The amount of money the party received from its membership alone was £2.2m in 2022, down from £2.5m in 2021.

Donations also plummeted from £695,351 in 2021 to £368,538 last year.

The SNP’s accounts list “motor vehicles” as being worth £64,506 to the party, down from £80,000 in 2021.

It still owes £70,000 in loans.

The party has just £46,766 of cash at the bank and in hand – a decrease from £144,990 in 2021.

AMS Accountants, which audited the books, said it could only give a qualified opinion – something given when accounts contain errors or omissions.

The firm said this was because “original documentation in respect to some items of cash and cheques received for the current and prior year, relating to membership, donations and raffle income were not kept by the party”.

They added: “We have been unable to satisfy ourselves by alternative means regarding the completeness of income in respect of the above limitation in scope.

“Consequently, we are unable to determine whether any adjustment to income necessary in the current or prior year and the potential impact on opening reserves accordingly.”

However, AMS said its accounts “give a true and fair view of the state of the SNP as at December 31, 2022 and of its deficit for the year then ended”.

The SNP has been approached for comment.

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