The SNP recorded a deficit of more than £318,000 last year after splashing out £1.4 million on Boris Johnson’s December snap election and the Shetland by-election.
Official accounts submitted to the Electoral Commission showed the SNP spent £5,609,024 and raised £5,290,815 – a difference of £318,209.
The amount Nicola Sturgeon’s party spent on legal fees increased from £38,676 in 2018 to £156,843 this year.
Membership of the party totalled 125,691 individuals at December 31 2019, which represented 3.2 per cent of the Scottish electorate.
Last year we were able to allocate £1.4 million at short notice to contest unplanned elections. This included a General Election where the SNP won a landslide in Scotland, our best European election result ever, plus the parliamentary by-election in Shetland.”
Combined membership of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties is around 1.7 per cent of the total UK electorate.
In addition to the General Election and the Shetland contest, the party fought the 2019 European elections.
Income rose from £4.7m in 2018 to £5.2m. Membership income was stable at £2.2m.
‘SNP rely on our supporters’
Donations also increased during the same period from £323,936 to £904,695. But that was accompanied by a rise in spending from £3.6m in 2018 to £5.6m last year. Campaigning costs increased from £287,056 to just over £1.5.
A SNP spokesman said: “The SNP rely on the commitment and generosity of our supporters to keep us campaigning.
“We have huge underlying financial strength, thanks to our mass membership. Last year we were able to allocate £1.4 million at short notice to contest unplanned elections.
“This included a General Election where the SNP won a landslide in Scotland, our best European election result ever, plus the parliamentary by-election in Shetland.
“We are immensely grateful to all our members and supporters who made those achievements possible in 2019.”
The figure was more than the £90,000 spent on campaigning for a Remain vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Beatrice Wishart managed to see off a determined SNP challenge to keep the seat in Lib Dem hands.
In 2019 the UK Conservative Party raised £68 million – the highest of any party – while spending £55 million.
UK Labour raised less than their Conservative rivals (£57.3 million) but outspent them overall (also around £57.3 million) during the General Election year.