The SNP reported just £5,000 in private donations in the final three months of 2014, a figure dwarfed by the millions taken in by Labour and the Conservatives as the party's sought to build their war chests before May's General Election.


The final quarter reports brought the SNP's total donations last year to £3.7 million.

The party also indicted that the new figures from the Electoral Commission were misleading, as the watchdog does not include smaller sums and membership fees.

Meanwhile, Labour and the Tories traded blows as each accused the other of being in thrall to trade unions or big finance.

Overall, David Cameron took in £1 million more than Ed Miliband in the last quarter of 2014, £8,345,687 compared to Labour's £7,163,988.

However, Mr Miliband's party benefited from more than £3.7 million in public cash given to opposition parties.

Labour received £386,605 from accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), accused by MPs earlier this month of "promoting tax avoidance on an industrial scale".

The three biggest donations were all from trade unions to Labour.

Unison gave £1,384,289, Unite £1,336,570 and the GMB £1,088,810.

The Tories' largest donation was £500,000 from Mike Gooley, the founder of the Trailfinders travel company.

Labour said analysis of the data showed donors associated with hedge funds gave the Tories almost £2 million.

Almost £4 million came from those who had attended private dinners with the Prime Minister or other senior ministers, the party added.

Labour defended the PwC donation saying the company provided "long-standing staff support" to all three major political parties.

Tory chairman Grant Shapps said: "Ed Miliband is utterly reliant on the trade unions to bail out his failing leadership, writing seven-figure cheques in exchange for writing the manifesto.

"Trade union bosses like Len McCluskey fund the party, pick the candidates, choose the leader and buy the policies."

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jonathan Ashworth said: "The Tories are now the political wing of the hedge fund industry."

Among the smaller parties the Liberal Democrats reported £3,038,500 in donations, Ukip £1,505,055 and the Green Party £248,520.

Deputy Prime Minister and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg called for a new deal to reform party funding to halt the "endless scandal" over donations.

An SNP spokesman: "With SNP membership surging to over 93,000, we have never been in better shape as a party.

"Every donation large or small helps us to campaign and we would like to thank the thousands of people who have contributed to the SNP in recent months."