A sharp rise in donations ensured the Scottish National Party’s income almost tripled last year, rising by more than £3m.
Accounts published today by the Electoral Commission show Alex Salmond’s party coffers swelled to £5.03m last year compared with £1.86m in 2010, while expenditure totalled £3.45m.
Income jumped over the 12-month period after donations to the party almost quadrupled to just short of £2.4m with lottery prize winners Colin and Chris Weir providing £1m and Stagecoach founder Sir Brian Souter donating £570,000. An additional donation of £917,740 from poet Edwin Morgan was received over and above the total figure having been listed under other income on the party’s balance sheet.
According to SNP accounts submitted for the year ended December 31 2011, a referendum fund containing restricted funds received from donors towards the campaign sat at a little over £500,000 with more than two years left to go until the expected poll.
Scottish Labour also witnessed an increase in income, albeit by a more modest sum from £706,738 to £735,774, though expenditure jumped by a little over £180,000 to £781,569 in 2011 amid parliamentary elections last May.
Membership and subscription fees dipped from £115,829 to £106,644 year-on-year among the Labour contingent in the face of an additional £40,000 entering the SNP funds from membership and subscription payments.
Willie Rennie’s Scottish Liberal Democrats recorded a rise in income of more than £20,000 to £533,782 in 2011, while expenditure remained below the half a million pound mark, up to £499,300 from £488,763.
However, the modest rise came against a backdrop of growing concerns over a drop-off in membership mirrored across the rest of the UK as the number of members north of the Border plummeted 25 per cent from 4,158 at the end of 2010 to 3,080 last year.
Within the Treasurer’s report for 2011 accompanying the figures, party treasurer Caron Lindsay writes: “Although subscription income in 2011 was around the same as the previous year, there was a fall in the number of members, similar to other parts of the UK, which needs to be addressed. The final quarter of 2011 was more encouraging but there will be a strong emphasis on recruitment in 2012.
“Each member of the Executive will be given responsibility for a number of local parties and will support them in this task. The Federal President, Tim Farron, has launched a membership campaign in which the Scottish Party is participating enthusiastically, developing incentive schemes for successful recruiters. It is critically important that all parts of the party work together on this.”