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Revealed: Tens of Thousands in Taxpayer Money Claimed by Far-Right BNP’s Staff During Pandemic

The British National Party – currently £205,000 in the red – relied on the Government’s furlough scheme

The BNP, formerly led by Nick Griffin, is a husk of its former self – but the ‘anti-scrounger’ party received tens of thousands in furlough cash. Photo: PA/Alamy

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The far-right British National Party claimed more than £60,000 from the Government’s job retention scheme during the pandemic, Byline Times can reveal. 

The £64,233 income for furlough – which covered staff wages for those no longer required to work – was revealed through analysis of the party’s 2020-2022 accounts. 

The taxpayer support for the party over three years is nearly triple the BNP’s total spend on staffing last year, suggesting it was a huge source of income for the far-right group.

The party is currently £205,000 in the red, which suggests the taxpayer spend may have prevented it from going under during the pandemic.

The BNP maintains that it has enough money to survive and won’t go bust. However, this seems to rely on donations from older activists leaving the party cash in their wills.

The latest accounts state: “We have ran on a negative balance sheet but we have been able to make sufficient funds to operate, have maintained the backing of our members, and have the prospect of significant legacy income in the foreseeable future.”

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The firm also has £13,000 in liabilities – likely outstanding legal fees for the “Gove case”. This is understood to be the party’s failed legal challenge to the 2014 decision by the then Education Secretary to ban teachers from being BNP members. 

There is a possibility that the furlough money indirectly propped up the party as it faced unpaid legal fees. Matthew Collins, spokesperson for anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate, told Byline Times that the BNP is “in a state of terminal decline… even using the Government’s job retention scheme to prop up their dying political party”.

Despite the taxpayer largesse to the BNP, the group’s latest press release chimed: “Migrants invade North Yorkshire seaside town and have fun day by the sea at taxpayers’ expense.”

The far-right group branded it an “all-expense paid care-free day playing in the sea, relaxing on the beach and having fun, all of which is being funded by you, the taxpayer.

“It is scandalous the amount of money being wasted…The taxpayers are expected to foot the bill.”

The BNP no longer has any elected councillors and has fractured in recent years amid electoral collapse. 

Searchlight magazine reported in May that the 2023 local elections were a “disaster for the entire spectrum of Britain’s far-right”, with votes for high-profile extremist candidates down compared to last year, the outlet reported.

The British Democrats – which claim that “the very existence of the indigenous population is under unprecedented threat” – are understood to be the only fascist party in Britain with elected representation, with three parish councillors. Its president is the former Yorkshire BNP Member of the European Parliament, Andrew Brons.

The separate far-right group, Britain First, reported income of more than £116,000 for its latest accounts, covering 2021. Its membership income suggests a membership of around 1,200 people. Britain First’s leader is former BNP councillor Paul Golding. 

Groups like Patriotic Alternative also continue to agitate over the issue of refugees and race, including holding “White Lives Matter” events. It does not report its income, but the Mosley Street (Manchester) based group registered two employees in its latest Companies House accounts. According to Hope Not Hate, members of Patriotic Alternative have supported Holocaust denial, political violence and the “white genocide” conspiracy theory. 

A government spokesperson told Byline Times:  “Our employment schemes supported 14.6 million jobs and prevented a quarter of a million businesses from closing, helping accelerate our economic recovery from the pandemic and keeping the peak of unemployment at just 5.2%. All claims were risk assessed and considered for post-payment checks by HMRC.” 

Being a political party was not a bar to receiving employment support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The British National Party did not respond to requests for comment. 

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