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SNP Finances in Stricter Health than Told

According to Ian Blackford, the Scottish National Party’s former Westminster leader, the party’s finances are in “robust health” despite claims that it is struggling financially. Blackford said that the party can meet all its financial obligations and is “solvent”, categorically denying reports that it is having difficulty balancing its books due to a reduction in membership and donors. Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Blackford acknowledged that there has been a dip in SNP membership, but emphasized that the party still has over 70,000 paying members, donations, and contributions from parliamentarians.

The party’s treasurer, Colin Beattie, reportedly told the SNP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that the party is having difficulty balancing its books, citing the reduction in membership and donors as the reason. However, Blackford dismissed these reports as “highly selective”, saying that Beattie told the NEC that the party’s finances are “balanced”. A party spokesperson echoed these comments, stating that the quotes were “out of context” and that Beattie had told the NEC that the party’s finances are “balanced”.

Ian Blackford (Via Ian Blackford/Twitter)

Blackford also spoke about the party’s plans for raising additional funds, saying that it would look at how to do so as part of its normal financial management. The NEC has agreed to hold a review into governance and transparency, including bringing in external oversight, which could include forensic accountants. This move comes as police investigate the party’s finances in a probe that has involved former chief executive Peter Murrell being arrested then released without charge.

The SNP’s financial struggles have been a topic of controversy, especially given the party’s plans for potential Scottish independence. Critics have accused the party of being opaque about its finances, and some have even called for an independent audit. Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie accused Ian Blackford of trying to minimize the party’s financial difficulties, saying that all the evidence shows that the auditors had quit while he was still leader of the SNP Westminster group.

Scottish Conservative chairman Craig Hoy also weighed in, saying that Blackford is treating members and the public like fools by denying the party’s financial struggles. The controversy surrounding the SNP’s finances is likely to continue, with many calling for greater transparency and accountability from the party.

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