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Yes Scotland criticised for keeping quiet on finances

YES Scotland has been heavily criticised for delaying publication of its donor income, despite a commitment to financial transparency.

The pro-independence movement intends to wait a full year since its last disclosure before revealing the people who have been bankrolling it and how much they have given. Yes Scotland last revealed its donor list in April last year.

The delay comes amid persistent rumours - always denied - of cash problems.

Yes Scotland had been expected to update its donor information four weeks ago, when its pro-union rival Better Together updated its list. Yes Scotland has previously called for both campaigns to release the details together.

However, after Yes Scotland's board met last week, it was agreed not to release the next donor figures until March or April.

The foot-dragging comes despite chief executive Blair Jenkins pledging transparency.

In November 2012, he told MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee: "It is important that both campaigns are very transparent about their funding sources. We will certainly be making clear where our funding has come from and publishing all the details of that."

And when Yes Scotland last revealed its donors, Jenkins boasted: "I said when I took up my appointment that we intended to be transparent about funding and that is why we are publishing this information today."

Yes Scotland now says it will only publish its new donor information "when it suits the campaign to do so".

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said it was "anti-democratic" to keep voters in the dark about who was funding Yes Scotland.

He said: "They're treating this as a tactical issue rather than an ethical, democratic issue. People will draw their own conclusions from the failure to keep to the ethical standards they set for themselves."

Better Together declared donations of £1.1 million last April and £1.6m in mid-December. Yes Scotland has so far declared £1.7m.

Publication is voluntary, as there is no legal duty of transparency until the final 16 weeks of the campaign.

Yes Scotland has also delayed revealing how many people have signed its "Yes Declaration", which it hoped would attract one million signatures.

Figures had been released every six months but Yes Scotland now says the next release will be "when we judge it will have maximum impact". The last known figure was 372,000 in May 2013.

A Better Together spokesman said: "We have led the way in being open and honest about who contributes to our campaign. Yes Scotland should live up to their nice words on transparency and get on with publishing details of their donors."

A Yes Scotland spokesman said: "We will be publishing up-to-date details on donations in due course."

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