SNP hires AMS Accountants to audit books
Humza Yousaf: ‘welcome news’ (pic: Terry Murden)
SNP leader Humza Yousaf has confirmed that the party has secured the services of auditors to complete the work for the publication of the party’s accounts.
Contracts are in place for both the party and for the Westminster group’s accounts. This work will be taken forward by Manchester-based AMS Accountants Group.
As a small firm AMS is exempt from filing full accounts or an audit of its own figures.
The appointment has diminished the prospect of the party having the Electoral Commission impose auditors, or it failing to deliver its Westminster accounts by the end of this month which would have seen it unable to receive more than £1m from the public purse, so-called ‘short money’.
Mr Yousaf said: “I am pleased to confirm that we have secured the services of auditors to take forward our accounts.
“We take our statutory obligations extremely seriously, so it is welcome news that AMS Accountants Group will complete the accounts for both the party and the SNP Westminster group.
“There is hard work ahead, but it is really encouraging to have them on board as we work towards challenging deadlines.
“I am very grateful for the work of our new party treasurer Stuart McDonald in securing the auditors’ services.
“I also wish to thank our previous auditors Johnston Carmichael for their professional work over many years.”
Mr McDonald MP said: “This announcement represents a significant step forward of the party’s stewardship under the leadership of Humza Yousaf.
“I am pleased to be getting on with the role of National Treasurer at this important time for the SNP, and we will continue working hard and standing up for the people of Scotland.”
The appointment came ahead of a debate in parliament forced by the Scottish Conservatives calling for a statement from Humza Yousaf on the state of the SNP’s finances.
Tory leader Douglas Ross demanded greater transparency from the SNP on both party and government affairs.
It was against the backdrop of a police probe into SNP finances – which has seen the SNP’s former chief executive Peter Murrell and ex-treasurer Colin Beattie arrested and resign.
Douglas Ross: ‘legitimate questions’ (pic: Terry Murden)
The Scottish Conservatives insist “legitimate questions” must be addressed by the First Minister because if there is an “imminent threat to the SNP’s viability” as a legal entity, it would have obvious consequences for Scotland’s government.
In addition, they say addressing the on-going crisis within his party is distracting Humza Yousaf from his duties as leader of the Scottish government.
Ahead of the debate Mr Ross said: “These questions are not going away for the First Minister and SNP leader, who recently had to step in as the SNP’s acting treasurer.
“He cannot stick his fingers in his ears and claim this is not a matter for his government – as well as his party – especially if the SNP were to face bankruptcy or an imminent threat to their viability.
“This is clearly also a government matter if the First Minister is compromised, his hands are tied, or if he has been kept in the dark about his party’s affairs – as was the case with the resignation of the SNP’s auditors.
“Right now, the real priorities of Scotland are being ignored by him and the SNP government because they are distracted by the meltdown in the party.
“The unacceptable secrecy that has characterised the SNP in government – on ferries, the Lochaber smelter, the Salmond affair and many others – is equally evident in its internal financial scandal, and it has to stop.
“The public must have confidence that Humza Yousaf is treating this investigation as seriously as possible and this debate gives him the opportunity to address these questions in full.”