John Swinney has insisted the SNP can afford to fight the general election despite donations drying up in the wake of the police investigation into the party’s finances.

Electoral Commission records released earlier this year show the central party received just one major donation from a living individual in 2023.

Hugh Harkins gifted £5,000. There were however bequests worth £246,000 and £4,000 respectively from the estates of two late supporters, Estelle Brownrig and James Murdoch.

Meanwhile, accounts published last August show the SNP made a loss of more than £800,000 in 2022, the second biggest deficit the party has recorded.

READ MORE: Operation Branchform report heading to prosecutors in weeks

Money from SNP membership subs fell from £2,516,854 in 2021 to £2,286,944 in 2022.

While reportable donations over the same period dropped from £695,351 to £368,538.

Asked about the state of the party’s finances, the First Minister said the SNP would “obviously have to raise money from our supporters” to ensure a “well-funded election campaign”.

Mr Swinney told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland: “Don’t you worry about the money, we’ll find the money to fight the election campaign, we’ll get on with that.

“We’ve got well-funded campaigns around the country and we’ll be raising money to make sure we fight a strong and enthusiastic election campaign which is about the fact that Scotland’s future has been damaged by decisions taken in Westminster.”

Operation Branchform was launched by Police Scotland in July 2021 after complaints that £660,000 raised by the party explicitly for a second independence referendum campaign was spent on other items.

Peter Murrell, the party’s former chief executive - who is married to former first minister Nicola Sturgeon - was re-arrested and charged in connection with the embezzlement of funds from SNP last month.

Officers are currently finalising what's known as a standard prosecution report, detailing their findings and laying out their evidence.

READ MORE: Scots Publishing tycoons make 'serious' campaign donations to MPs

During the interview, Mr Swinney also hit out at Rishi Sunak’ for calling the General Election during the Scottish school holidays.

On Wednesday night, the Prime Minister announced that the vote would be on July 4.

Most Scottish schools stop for the summer holidays in June.

Mr Swinney told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I don’t really think the arrangements in Scotland for the school holidays have really been anywhere near the calculations made by the Prime Minister.”

Asked whether he would expect them to be, he said: “I think it would be respectful if that was the case but it’s pretty typical of the lack of respect shown to Scotland that we’re an afterthought from the Westminster establishment and particularly the Conservative establishment.

“What it means is that people who are going to be on holiday at the start of the school holidays in late June, early July have got to arrange a postal vote so that they can exercise their (right to) vote and be participants in our democracy, so that’s got to be put in place pretty quickly by folk.”

He said the constitution would central to the SNP’s campaign.

Asked whether independence will still be on page one of the manifesto as promised by his predecessor Humza Yousaf, he told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “Well of course it is because independence is the answer to all those issues, it’s the answer to austerity, it’s the answer to the cost-of-living crisis, it’s the answer to Brexit.

“Independence is the way for Scotland to get over these errors and damaging decisions that have been inflicted upon us by Westminster.

“Of course they are interlinked, of course they’ll be central to our election campaign because that’s the way which we can chart a different course to the damage inflicted by Westminster.”

Meanwhile, Pat McFadden, Labour’s national campaign co-ordinator, told BBC Good Morning Scotland that the party was “in good shape in Scotland.”

He added: “We assume nothing, but the really critical thing is that power of the vote in Scotland to send much more than a message, to actually be part of sending a Labour government to Westminster.”

Asked whether the party would do any deals if there is a hung parliament, Mr McFadden said: “We are not doing any deals, the aim is for a majority, we know that that’s ambitious but we want to bring stability to the country and I believe that voters in Scotland have got a critical role to play in this.”

Asked whether all the party’s candidates for Scottish seats were in place, he said: “We might have a few to select but if there’s anything like that to do we’ll do it in the next few days”.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the party will “take the fight to the SNP”.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “The Scottish Conservatives will take the fight to the SNP, beat the nationalists in crucial seats up and down Scotland and get the focus back on what people have been telling me on the doorsteps for months that they want their governments to be focused on.

“It’s about improving our education system, investing in the NHS, it’s about growing our economy, creating good jobs, but they know that in crucial seats it’s going to be a very close fight between the Scottish Conservatives and the SNP.

“If they back the Scottish Conservatives, their priorities will be at the forefront, if they back the nationalists it will be about independence.

“Every party has been urging the Prime Minister to call the election, he has now done that, we are going to the country on July 4 and in the next six weeks, I will be out with my candidates up and down the country who are taking the fight to the SNP in these key seats because they know the local priorities in their constituencies.

“They know that voters are fed up with John Swinney and the SNP’s obsession with independence.”