BNP 'expects to pay off debts this year'

Nick Griffin BNP leader Nick Griffin became an MEP in 2009

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The British National Party, which was facing potentially crippling debts of more than £500,000, says it expects to pay them off by the end of the year.

"We are not going bust," said party spokesman Simon Darby.

The BNP was facing doubts over its future after costly court cases brought against it, including one by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

It also had to pay an out-of-court settlement to Marmite for using a jar of the spread in a party broadcast.

However, BNP sources say most of the debts were built up as a result of heavy spending during the last European and general election campaigns.

'Commercial solutions'

The party contested 338 seats in the 2010 general election and lost its deposit in 266 of them.

The BNP is now understood to have reached "commercial solutions" with a number of creditors over re-payments, and is believed to have met its its outstanding tax liabilities.

BNP officials say the party has instituted austerity measures including laying off staff and closing its Belfast call centre.

There has also been an increase in donations from the party's 12,000 members.

However, the BNP has had to rein back on its spending in the current elections to councils in England, the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies and the Scottish Parliament.

"We've had to cut back," said Mr Darby. "We are determined to get a grip on the amount of money we spend on elections.

"We've spent too much on elections in the last few years. We really have pushed the boat out."

He said the BNP would not be incurring any more debts as a result of the current set of elections, which take place on 5 May. The party does not have access to any bank overdraft facility.

Mr Darby said the BNP was facing "a difficult" set of elections because of the financial pressure on the party, coupled with "a resurgent Labour Party".

But he predicted the BNP would still win seats in its core target areas.

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