Scotland politics

Scottish independence: Campaign donation figures released

Better Together and Yes Scotland badges
Image caption Better Together and Yes Scotland have been handed big donations

More than £200,000 was donated to groups campaigning in the Scottish independence referendum in July.

The latest Electoral Commission figures showed that the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign received £55,000.

That figure compared with the £10,000 donated to the pro-union Better Together group.

The remainder of the money went to other groups campaigning for and against independence.

The groups campaigning against independence received about three-quarters of the total amount donated during the month.

Four pro-union groups received donations of £151,248 between 27 June and 24 July, while pro-independence groups received £65,000.

The donation figures, for the period between 27 June and 24 July this year, were released by the commission six weeks ahead of the 18 September independence referendum.

All registered campaigners must declare donations of more than £7,500.

The latest figures reveal that the Scottish Research Society received £74,747 for the pro-union cause - significantly more than either of the official campaigns.

The sole donor to the group was JCB digger tycoon and Conservative donor Mark Bamford. The society, which was founded in May, is run by marketing directors Hamish Alldridge and Elaine MacKenzie Grossart.

High-profile donations

The largest donation made to the Yes Scotland campaign during the four-week period was £40,000, from James Williamson.

The sole donation made to the Better Together campaign was £10,000 by Terence Scuoler, the chief executive of EEF, the British association which lobbies on behalf of manufacturers.

"I have made a donation to the No campaign, in an entirely personal capacity," Mr Scuoler told BBC Scotland.

"As a proud Glaswegian I've made no secret of my strong support for the union, and this was an entirely personal gesture."

A Yes Scotland spokesman said: "The list of No campaign donors reveals much about who thinks they would benefit from a No vote.

"As the Financial Times said they include billionaire bankers and wealth Tory supporters, including Ian Taylor, chief executive of the highly controversial Vitol company, who has given them hundreds of thousands of pounds."

The donation report reveals Mr Taylor donated £30,000 to the pro-union group Let's Stay Together.

Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall said: "While we've received a number of high-profile donations, thousands of individual donations have come in to the campaign in £5 and £10 amounts from people across Scotland."

Mr McDougall told BBC Scotland that the campaign had also received £147,163.44 in unpublished donations under £7,500.

BBC Scotland analysis found that the donations to the two main campaigns in July were significantly lower than the monthly average which we have calculated from the Electoral Commission's initial report.

The average monthly donations to Yes Scotland and Better Together in previous months were £166,428 and £345,210 respectively.

Overall, pro-union groups have received a total of £2,657,723 since 18 December, while pro-independence campaigners have received £1,524,120.

Campaign donations and loans
Reporting period Publishing dates
18 December 2013 to 26 June 2014 Tuesday, 8 July
27 June to 24 July Tuesday, 5 August
25 July to 21 August Tuesday, 2 September
22 August to 5 September Monday, 15 September

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