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banner Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Back in the black
SNP head office
The SNP is leaving its Edinburgh HQ
The Scottish National Party has said its finances have gone into the black for the first time since the Scottish elections.

Acting treasurer Kenny MacAskill has revealed that when he took over the post in June, the SNP was facing an overdraft of 180,000 by the end of the year - even after the sale of its headquarters in the New Town area of Edinburgh.

In a letter to delegates to this week's annual conference in Inverness, Mr Macaskill said: "This was largely due to, as yet, unexplained errors in forecasting of headquarters staff costs in the previous financial projections.


New systems have been introduced and the financial projections are now fully integrated into the headquarters accountancy package.

Kenny MacAskill
"Clearly that position would have placed us in extreme difficulty moving into an election year."

Mr MacAskill became acting treasurer after Ian Blackford was suspended from the post in a dispute with outgoing leader Alex Salmond.

The letter continued: "New systems have been introduced and the financial projections are now fully integrated into the headquarters accountancy package.

"Major savings were identified and implemented, there has been a host of new fundraising initiatives and the party has rallied magnificently to transform our financial prospects.

"I am delighted to be able to tell you that as at Wednesday, September 13, the party have now moved into the black for the first time since the Scottish elections."

Kenny MacAskill
Kenny MacAskill: Letter to members
He predicted a credit balance of more than 20,000 by the end of the conference.

The SNP has still to find a new headquarters - and is currently looking at two offices for sale - one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. If neither is considered suitable, the party could opt to look for somewhere to rent when the national executive meets next month.

The new treasurer would have "substantial" work to do. Finance for the new headquarters had been agreed with a bank although a location has still to be found.

Two offices for sale, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh, are being studied but if neither is considered suitable the party could opt to look for somewhere to rent.

A decision on their future home will be made next month by the party's national executive.

Mr MacAskill's letter said he had "no doubt" the upbeat financial information would come as a major disappointment to those who had leaked distorted versions to "some sections of the unionist press".

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See also:

19 Jul 00 | Scotland
SNP treasurer steps up fight
14 Jun 00 | Scotland
SNP treasurer dispute 'over'
13 Jun 00 | Scotland
SNP suspends treasurer
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