Scottish independence: 'No' campaign receives £1m more in campaign donations than 'yes'

£2.7 million was raised by Let’s Stay Together and £1.8 million by Yes Scotland

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The Independent Online

With both sides of the Scottish independence debate locked in a final push for votes, it has been revealed that the pro-union campaign raised almost a million pounds more in funding than the “yes” camp.

Figures compiled by the Electoral Commission show that a total £2.7 million was raised by Let’s Stay Together, compared to £1.8 million by Yes Scotland.

The gulf shows little sign of being repeated in opinion polls, which still suggest the result of Thursday’s referendum is on a knife-edge.

As part of the Scottish Independence Referendum Act, registered campaigners have been legally obliged to declare all donations and loans over £7,500 received since December last year and spending limits have been set.

The largest donations were gathered by the two lead campaign groups, with £1.5 million from Yes Scotland and £2.4 million from Better Together.

Huge contributions have been made by some individuals, including two £500,000 gifts for the pro-independence camp from lottery winners Chris and Colin Weir.

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Colin and Chris Weir, from Largs in Ayrshire

The couple, who won £161 million in the EuroMillions lottery in 2011, said they gave the money “to ensure there was a chance of an informed debate”.

William Tait Senior, the director of Denholm Seafood, donated £100,000 and another £20,000 came from former RBS chairman Sir George Mathewson.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling gave the largest personal donation of £1 million to the pro-union campaign, sparking criticism from pro-independence Scots on Twitter.

Joe Hemani, the vice-president of Chelsea football club, also gave £10,000 to Better Together.

Video: 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns campaign for votes with just days to go

Donations have slowed as the referendum approaches, with a total £130,000 received between 22 August and 4 September - £120,000 for Yes Scotland and £10,000 for Let’s Stay Together.

It is the first time voters anywhere in the UK have been able to see how campaigners at a referendum are financed before they cast their vote.

Political parties are not required to submit donation and loans reports to the Electoral Commission before the referendum but spending limits for those represented in the Scottish Parliament were set.

Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party was allowed to use £1,344,000, with mostly pro-union Scottish Labour allowed £831,000 and the smaller parties including Scottish Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Greens far less.

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