Campaign bill

£1.5m a year cost of civil servants working on indy

independence march Edinburgh October 2018
Taxpayers are forking out for the independence campaign, say Tories (pic: Terry Murden)

More than £1.5million of taxpayers’ cash will be spent annually funding a 25-strong team of civil servants to work on the SNP Government’s independence push, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

The Tories say this is the cost of the unit set up by SNP leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon around the turn of the year to promote her case for independence. A group of business leaders have now sought legal advice to assess whether the expenditure is lawful.

Shadow Constitution Secretary Donald Cameron has criticised the Scottish Government for wasting public money on its “pet project” while simultaneously imposing “savage cuts” on essential public services.

Following the Supreme Court ruling that the Scottish Government cannot unilaterally hold another referendum, he has demanded that the team of taxpayer-funded officials be disbanded immediately and given other work.

He said: “Most Scots will be appalled that Nicola Sturgeon is squandering huge sums of public money and civil service resources on her pet project at the same time as imposing savage cuts on key public services.

“It is further proof – if any were needed – that the SNP leader always puts her party’s interests before those of the country.

“By any objective measure the money has been wasted, too, because – as most legal experts predicted – the Scottish Government lost its case at the Supreme Court.

“In light of that ruling, there will be no referendum next year and so there is no justification for continuing to deploy civil servants in these roles.

“The Scottish Government’s independence unit must be disbanded now and the civil servants in question put to work on the issues that matter to people in Scotland, like the global cost-of-living crisis and the NHS, which is on its knees under this SNP-Green coalition.

“Nicola Sturgeon’s next step in pursuing her independence obsession is to try to frame the next General Election as a ‘de facto referendum’.

“Setting aside the arrogance of that strategy – it’s voters who decide the issues on which they vote – it is clearly a party-political SNP tactic, not something for the apparatus of government.

“Therefore, it would be utterly scandalous if independent, publicly-funded civil servants continued to be used for what is now purely SNP campaigning.”

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