The SNP has insisted its finances are solvent after members of the ruling national executive committee (NEC) were reportedly told that the party is “running out of money”.
The Sunday Times reported that the SNP’s treasurer, Colin Beattie, told the NEC on Saturday that the party was “having difficulty in balancing the books due to the reduction in membership and donors”.
On Saturday, First Minister Humza Yousaf denied the SNP faces bankruptcy as he confirmed forensic auditors could be appointed.
Speaking to reporters shortly after the SNP’s NEC met, Yousaf said the body agreed to hold a governance and transparency review.
The review comes as police investigate the party’s finances in a probe which has involved former chief executive Peter Murrell being arrested then released without charge.
Yousaf said the NEC meeting had been “positive” and there were no resignations.
Questioned on speculation the party could be bankrupt, he said it is “solvent” and bankruptcy had not been discussed at the NEC.
He said: “We’re not close to bankruptcy. This is something I’ve read in some social media circles but, no, the party is solvent.”
Questioned on the review, he said: “We will ensure we have external input, particularly around the issues of financial oversight.
“So, that may well be forensic accountants, it may well be some other means and method – but I think around the additional financial oversight, external input is really important.”
He said an interim report on the review is expected in June, with a full report due in autumn and the latter will be made public.
Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland on Sunday, the party’s former Westminster leader Ian Blackford said that the reports had been “highly selective”.
He said: “Absolutely, categorically, the SNP is solvent, the finances are in balance, we will be able to meet our obligations, our liabilities going forward.
“Everybody knows that there has been a dip in SNP membership.
“I would like to think that we can grow the membership over the course of the coming period. But when all is said and done, we’ve still got over 70,000 members, members that are paying subscriptions, donations coming in, parliamentarians making contributions.
“As would be normal, we’d be looking at how we can raise additional funds as well. The party will be ready to meet all its liabilities. It will certainly be able to meet the challenge – if it comes – of a by-election in Rutherglen over the course of the coming period.”
He added: “The party, financially, is in robust health in terms of meeting its obligations.”
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