Yousaf confident that SNP accounts will be filed on time as deadline looms

The party's Westminster group accounts need to be filed on Wednesday or it risks losing out on £1.2m of short money.

First Minister Humza Yousaf confident that SNP accounts will be filed on time as deadline looms STV News

First Minister Humza Yousaf says he is confident the SNP’s auditors will meet a Wednesday deadline to file the accounts of the party’s Westminster group.

AMS Accountants Group, the firm working on both the party and the Westminster group’s accounts, were only appointed at the start of May after the previous auditors quit.

It transpired that Johnston Carmichael, the party’s auditors for ten years, had actually quit last September – a fact that Yousaf revealed he discovered only after he became SNP leader and First Minister.

The party then struggled for six months to appoint new accountants.

The Westminster group’s accounts must be filed by the end of May, or the party risks losing out on £1.2m of so-called short money – public funds paid to opposition parties at Westminster to support their parliamentary work.

The party as a whole needs to submit its accounts to watchdogs at the Electoral Commission by July 7, with failure to do so potentially resulting in a fine.

“I am confident that (Wednesday’s) deadline will be met,” Yousaf said on Tuesday.

News that Johnston Carmichael had quit as auditors only emerged earlier this year after a police investigation into the SNP’s finances ramped up.

Police Scotland searched the home shared by former leader Nicola Sturgeon and her husband, ex-SNP chief executive Peter Murrell, while a luxury motorhome was seen to be taken away from another address.

Murrell and then SNP treasurer Colin Beattie were arrested in connection with the investigation – although both men were released without charge pending further investigation.

Yousaf, who took over an SNP leader shortly before those events, said in May he was pleased to secure the services of AMS Accountants to complete the accounts.

He said: “We take our statutory obligations extremely seriously, so it is welcome news that AMS Accountants Group will complete the accounts for both the party and the SNP Westminster group.”

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