20 civil servants working on Sturgeon’s separation blueprint costing up to £1.2million

The number of taxpayer-funded civil servants working on Nicola Sturgeon’s blueprint for separation has nearly doubled to 20, it has emerged.


A Freedom of Information request shows that staffing resources have increased from 11 at the start of the year, suggesting the equivalent annual cost is now up to £1.2million.


Nicola Sturgeon will today announce her plans for a second independence referendum, even though fewer than a third of people in Scotland support another contest next year.


Despite huge financial pressures on public services such as the NHS, the SNP Government has earmarked £20million of taxpayers’ cash for a referendum next year.


Alastair Cameron, Scotland in Union director, said:


“This revelation demonstrates a totally unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money by the SNP.


“These are senior, highly-paid and expert civil servants who could be devoting their time to pressing matters such as reducing NHS waiting times or closing the attainment gap in our schools.


“Instead, they have been tasked by SNP ministers with working on a blueprint to divide the people of Scotland.


“The majority of people in Scotland don’t want to leave the UK, and voters are strongly opposed to another referendum next year.


“The First Minister should stop pandering to hardline nationalists and squandering public money on a hypothetical, unwanted referendum.


“Scotland has a brighter future as part of the UK, bringing together people and communities, keeping the pound, enabling businesses to grow, investing more in public services, sharing our defence capabilities, and creating more jobs."

Scottish Parliament debating chamber

The FOI request by Alastair Cameron can be found here.


Previous FOIs showing there were 11 civil servants working on the prospectus can be found here. Reported on here.


Details from latest FOI (received June 23)


“At 24 May 2022, the staff in the Constitutional Futures Division co-ordinating work on an independence prospectus comprised of one Senior Civil Servant and nineteen other officials. The grades of the other officials are – 6 C2, 9 C1, 1 B3, 1 B2 and 2 B1. The work on the prospectus will also draw on other officials across a range of portfolios who will contribute to varying extents as part of their wider responsibilities in supporting the Scottish Government.”


This FOI shows pay ranges as of April 1, 2021.


Based on this, equivalent annual costs:

  • C2 x 6 at max of £75,341 = up to £452,046

  • C1 x 9 at max of £62,167 = up to £559,503

  • B3 x 1 at max of £47,485 = up to £47,485

  • B2 x 1 at max of £36,129 = up to £36,129

  • B1 x 2 at max of £30,039 = up to £60,078

  • Senior Civil servant estimated at £100,011 (Details last updated in 2018 show the average wage for 45 Scottish Government senior civil servants was £100,011, according to the Scottish Sun).


Total: Up to £1,255,252.


Only 29 per cent of people support a referendum in 2023.