SNP record £800,000 deficit during 2022, accounts show, during Nicola Sturgeon and Peter Murrell's final full year in charge

The accounts are filed amid an ongoing police investigation into alleged financial irregularities at the SNP.

Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell’s last full year in charge of the SNP resulted in a deficit of more than £800,000 for the party, their annual accounts show.

Figures published by the Electoral Commission show the party spent just over £5.05 million in the last year, around £200k less than in 2021, but received just £4.25m in income, resulting in a deficit of £803,659, up from £730k in 2021.

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SNP officials also have £46,000 in cash in hand, down from £144,000 in 2021.

The accounts state: “Neither this deficit, nor the balance sheet, are out of keeping with other years in which nation-wide elections were fought, including 2021. However it will be important to seek to return the party to surplus in 2023 as we build towards the next general election.”

As the party announced in June, auditors could only approve the accounts with what is known as a “qualified opinion”. This, the auditors said, was due 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”.

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

The accounts also confirm the new chief executive of the party, Murray Foote, will earn £95,000 a year.

The party is also due to pay back £60,000 to former chief executive Mr Murrell, who loaned the party £107,620 in June 2021 to “assist with cashflow”. However, his identity is hidden in the accounts with a referral simply to “executive management”.

It also adds the financial report “cannot and does not comment on any matters subject to ongoing police investigation”.

The accounts do, however, confirm the value of ‘motor vehicles’ on the accounts has dropped from £100,000 to £64,500 due to depreciation.

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The accounts also confirm around £220,000 was spent by the party on upgrading compute systems for party staff and volunteers due to “increasing risk” of “malicious attacks”.

SNP membership dropped by around 9,000 between the end of December last year and the end of June 2023, where it was at 73,936.

This is down from over 103,000 in 2021, with the party blaming the drop on “public concern about the economy and job security”, stating the cost-of-living crisis is being given as the reason for cancellations or lowering of membership payments.

This drop in income resulted in £2.3m in membership income in 2022, down from £2.5m in 2021. Donations also halved from £695,000 to £368,000, but conference income grew significantly from £182,000 to £522,000.

The party said: “Events since the start of the pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis have thrown into stark relief just how critical regular giving income is for the party, providing an essential core income and giving time and space to review, adjust and react when challenges arise. The party will give renewed focus on this area to ensure regular giving is nurtured and protected.”

The SNP’s coalition partners, the Scottish Greens, reported a drop in income of £70,000 down to £566,000 for 2022, but an increase in membership income of £22,000 to £272,000.

With a spend of £595,000, the party reported a deficit of £28,191 last year.

Scottish Labour meanwhile reported a deficit of £123,787 for 2022, a reverse from the surplus of just over £4,000 in 2021. The party spent almost £690,000 on campaigning, with income of just over £495,000 for campaigns. Donations-wise the party took in £44,000, and almost £100,000 in membership and subscription fees.

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The Scottish Liberal Democrats reported a surplus of £291,000, having received £885,000 in income, including £503,000 in donations, and spending just £594,000 in 2022.

Alex Salmond’s Alba Party reported a surplus of £17,425 last year after spending £462,000 and receiving £480,000, their accounts show. Alba’s salary costs rose almost six-fold from £18,550 in 2021 to £110,452 in 2022, despite there being just three employees. It is not clear if Mr Salmond takes a salary.

The Conservatives, who do not publish separate accounts for the Scottish party, reported a deficit of £2.4m, having spent more than £33m and received £30.7m.



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