Scottish independence: Better Together reveals donor list

Image caption,
The independence referendum is due to be held in September 2014

The campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom has received donations of more than £1.1m since launching last June.

Figures released by the Better Together organisation showed some 9,500 people had given it money.

Oil trader Ian Taylor, of Vitol Oil, handed over £500,000 - almost half of the total.

The pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign said it would be releasing its own figures on donations soon.

Ten single donations accounted for £891,000 of the £1,118,451 raised so far by Better Together.

The £500,000 donation by Mr Taylor, who has previously given large sums to the Conservative party and is reported to have a total wealth of £155m, was the largest of these by some distance.

He said he was "delighted to be in a position to help" the campaign, which is being led by former chancellor Alistair Darling.

Other donors of more than £7,500 - classed as category one - included author CJ Sansom, who gave £161,000, and engineering entrepreneur Alan Savage, who handed over £100,000.

Douglas Flint, who is chairman of HSBC holdings, donated £25,000, while £10,000 came from the late Gordon Baxter, of Baxters Food Group.

A further 27 people gave amounts of between £500 and £7,500, resulting in a total of £54,066.

'Good start'

The bulk of the donors gave less than £500, with 9,464 people handing over a total of £173,385 - an average of £18.26 per person.

Better Together also said it had been pledged a further £1m in donations from six business people.

Blair McDougall, Better Together's campaign director, said: "We are humbled that, in difficult economic times, almost 10,000 people have chosen to make a contribution to our campaign.

"We have not received a penny from political parties. Every penny we have raised, we have raised ourselves from supporters of our cause.

"Ten thousand donations is a good start, and we have plans to raise far more as we fight for the future of our country, working with the people behind Barack Obama's grassroots fundraising drive."

A spokesman for Yes Scotland said it would be sticking to its principle of only accepting donations of more than £500 from people registered to vote in next year's independence referendum.

Better Together has previously said it would "absolutely" accept donations from elsewhere in the UK.

The Yes Scotland spokesman added: "We believe the appropriate position is that both campaigns should agree that any donations above £500 - the legally recognised level over which money given becomes a 'donation' - should come only from those registered to vote in Scotland's referendum. Yes Scotland is sticking firmly to that.

"We contacted the No campaign some time ago suggesting that both parties should agree to release donations information simultaneously, but we received no response from Mr Darling or his staff."

The launch of Yes Scotland was largely funded by £1m donations that were made to the SNP - which is playing a leading role in the campaign - by the late Scottish poet Edwin Morgan and Euromillions lottery winners Chris and Colin Weir.

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