THE SNP’s financial crisis has shattered the party’s credibility with voters and “crashed the case for independence”, Douglas Ross will tell his annual conference today.

The Scottish Tory leader will claim that the SNP’s incompetent handling of its own money shows it cannot be trusted with the finances of an independent Scotland.

He will tell delegates at Glasgow’s SEC: “Nobody will ever believe a nationalist on currency, pensions and balancing the books ever again. The SNP lack any credibility.

“Through their own blunders, the nationalists have crashed the case for independence.”  

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to amplify the attack on the SNP when he makes his speech to the conference this morning.

Humza Yousaf yesterday said the Tories couldn't be trusted on finance given the chaos under Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss.

Mr Ross was recently slapped down by Tory HQ in London for suggesting Scots could vote tactically for Labour and other parties to oust SNP MPs in the general election.

He will today row back on that by saying the best way to unseat SNP MPs and “send a strong signal to Humza Yousaf is to vote Tory “across the country”. 

🔴 Save on a full year of digital access with our lowest EVER offer.

Subscribe for the whole year to The Herald for only £24 for unlimited website access or £30 for our digital pack.

This is only available for a limited time so don't miss out.

👉 Click here to subscribe

Mr Ross, the MP for Moray and a Highlands & Islands MSP, will also announce plans for a Community Energy Benefit Law, giving locals a cash benefit from nearby windfarms.

The law would give communities, not ministers, a final say on developments and ensure they got more than “a pittance in voluntary contributions” from those behind them.

“It would force developers and operators to negotiate deals that make meaningful financial payments to communities – which could be used directly for cutting energy bills,” he will say.  

“This would not only create an incentive to unblock planning barriers to infrastructure, but ensure people benefit from living close to windfarms or power stations.” 

Since Nicola Sturgeon resigned as SNP leader and First Minister in February, the SNP has faced a series of crises, compounded by a long-running police probe into its books.

Detectives are investigating if £660,000 raised solely for Indyref2 was spent on other things.

On April 5, police raided the Glasgow house Ms Sturgeon shares with her husband Peter Murrell, who was arrested and released without charge after questioning.

Officers also seized a luxury £110,000 motorhome from Murrell’s 92-year-old mother.

On April 18, police arrested the SNP’s then treasurer Colin Beattie and released him without charge. The MSP for Musselburgh quit as treasurer the following day.

It came hot on the heels of a bitter party leadership contest in which Mr Murrell quit as SNP chief executive after SNP HQ misled the media about losing 30,000 members.

The SNP has also been struggling to find new auditors since September.

The party is due to file accounts for 2022 by July 7 with the Electoral Commission for both its £4.5million-a-year central operation and its £1.5m-a-year Westminster Group. 

If the Westminster Group cannot find auditors to sign off its spending by May 31 it will also lose access to £1.2m of public funding in 2023/24.

In his speech, Mr Ross will directly link the SNP’s cash problems to independence.

Joking about the First Minister being caught driving without insurance in 2016 while transport minister, he will say: “Humza Yousaf said that he wants to shift independence into ‘fifth gear’. 

“Yet instead, with an uninsured driver at the wheel, the campaign is going into reverse. 

“The campervan has stalled. The SNP’s financial troubles have blown a huge hole in the economic case for independence. 

“The SNP wanted to hold an independence referendum in just six months’ time – when they cannot even find an auditor in the same timeframe. 

“They wanted to set up a central bank – when they cannot even submit their own accounts. 

“The SNP cannot even manage their own accounts, how can they be trusted on the finances of an independent Scotland? Nobody will ever believe a nationalist on currency, pensions and balancing the books ever again.

“Through their own blunders, the nationalists have crashed the case for independence.”  

Scottish Labour MP Ian Murray said: “Douglas Ross and Rishi Sunak have a busy weekend rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, but few Scots will be paying attention.
“After 13 years of failure, the Tories are out of touch and out of time.” 

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “With Douglas Ross’ backing, the Tories have crashed the economy, hammered everyone into a brutal cost of living crisis, refused to bring in a meaningful windfall tax and are demonising the desperate with their heartless small boats legislation. Change is needed for Scotland, but Douglas Ross represents more of the divisive and dreary same."

He also said the Tories had copied their community energy law from his party.