ALEX Salmond’s Alba party has said it is “here to stay” after ending its first year with a financial surplus and a six-figure grant from election watchdogs. 

Despite failing to win any seats in last year’s Holyrood election, the pro-independence party ended 2021 with reserves of £62,767.

It has also secured a policy development grant from the Electoral Commission for £144,000, part of which will be assigned to staffing.

In its first set of accounts, which cover its creation in February 2021 to the end of December, the Alba party warns its income is expected to fall in the absence of an election this year.

However it says the “possibility” of an independence referendum could increase its membership base, and with that its donations income.

Besides flopping at the Holyrood poll last year, Alba also failed to get any councillors elected in May’s local elections, with its only elected representatives the two former SNP MPs Kenny MacAskill and Neale Hanvey, who defected to it.

Despite the lack of electoral success, the accounts insisted the party had “made a significant impact in local communities across Scotland and at Westminster, where the party has two members of the UK Parliament”.

Alba’s total income in 2021 was £474,012 and total expenditure £411,245.

General secretary Chris McEleny said: “Alba Party are just over a year old and thanks to the support of thousands of members we continue to have a much needed pro-independence presence on the Scottish political scene. 

“Our 2021 accounts were given a clean bill of health by our external auditors and this year we have continued to dedicate all of our resources to the campaign for Scottish independence.

"This year, to date, we have delivered 100,000 copies of ‘The Wee Alba Book - The New Case for Independence’ as well as now approaching our 40th pro independence campaign event.

"This has proved to be a key tool for the independence movement, providing much needed answers to many topics that are key to securing our independence. 

“Alba Party have the people, the policies and the plan for independence, and we are here to stay.”

The Electoral Commission today published the accounts of all the UK political parties with incomes over £250,000 in 2021.

They showed Labour had the highest income, at £45.6m, and an expenditure of £50.8m.

The Tories had income of £31.7m and expenditure of £31.4m, the Liberal Democrats income of £5.7m and expenditure of £6.7m, and the SNP income of £4.5m and spending of £5.3m.