Sunday, 1 July 2012

Who is Funding the NO Campaign?


ANTI-INDEPENDENCE PARTIES MUST AGREE TO VOLUNTARY DONATIONS RULES AFTER POLL SHOWS MAJORITY OF SCOTS SUPPORT SCOTTISH-ONLY FUNDING

The SNP has repeated its call for the anti-independence campaign to agree to voluntary donation rules for the referendum campaign, after a poll found that a majority of Scots want donations to be limited to those eligible to vote in the referendum.

The Party has today released details of a YouGov opinion poll showing that 53 per cent of people in Scotland believe referendum donations should be controlled in this way, compared to 27% who disagree.

On the day the NO campaign launched, Alistair Darling claimed their campaign would be ‘completely transparent’. However, he has promised only to abide by the minimum requirements set by the Electoral Commission on political donations, and the source of the NO campaign’s funding remains shrouded in mystery.

Between now and summer 2014, when the regulated period begins, there will be no official limits on donations. However, YES Scotland has already enforced a maximum £500 limit on its website – with larger donations only accepted after establishing whether the person is on the voters’ roll in Scotland – and has called on the anti-independence parties to do likewise.

SNP Campaign Director Angus Robertson said that until the anti-independence campaign agrees to voluntary rules on transparency, accusations will remain that it is being flooded with money from outside Scotland.

Commenting, Mr Robertson said:

“The NO campaign is a Tory-led campaign – the last thing that people in Scotland want is for it to also be a Westminster Tory-funded campaign.

“The decision on the future of Scotland is rightly a matter for people in Scotland. As such, it is only common sense that major donations to either campaign should originate in Scotland.

“We are working on the same basis as for UK elections and referendums, where it was decided, quite rightly, that only those on the electoral register should be allowed to donate to political parties. The same approach should be followed for this Scottish vote.

“YES Scotland are completely transparent about where their initial financial support comes from, but funding for the anti-independence campaign remains shrouded in secrecy.

“Until the NO campaign agrees to these voluntary rules, serious questions will remain about what exactly they have to hide.”
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