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REVEALED: SNP has spent £3.5m on independence obsession

The SNP government has spent an estimated £3.5 million of public money on its constitutional obsession since the last election, new research has revealed.

Detailed analysis of several Freedom of Information requests and parliamentary questions shows the huge sums involved in producing nationalist propaganda, mounting legal challenges, and diverting civil service resources.

This includes:

  • A Scottish Government ‘constitutional futures division’ with salary costs of £1.39 million last year, involving 25 civil servants at one point.

  • A legal bill of £252,000 for the failed attempt to hold a second referendum.

  • More than £150,000 on the design, print and translation costs of a series of policy papers on a separate Scotland.

  • Nearly £70,000 on creating a Minister for Independence.

The analysis by campaign group Scotland in Union (full details below) puts the total bill at an estimated £3.44 million between September 2021 – when Nicola Sturgeon outlined her Programme for Government after that year’s election – and December of this year.

The real figure may be even higher, as the Scottish Government does not provide detailed breakdowns.

In the wake of the public service cuts announced in the recent draft budget, Scotland in Union called on the government to “end the spend” on its constitutional obsession in 2024.


Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said

“This is an obscene waste of taxpayers’ money.

“When the housing budget is being slashed, the NHS is in chaos, and families and businesses alike are desperate for economic growth, diverting public resources to the SNP’s divisive campaign is unforgiveable.

“Civil servants and ministers should be focused on what really matters to people.

“In 2024, the SNP must end the spend on its constitutional obsession and govern for all the people of Scotland.”


Spending analysis


  • Minister for Independence: £31,854. Source.

  • Private Secretary for Minister for Independence: Up to £37,936. Source.


  • Supreme Court referral costs: £251,729. Source.

  • Constitutional papers: £150,467, including:


  • Scottish Government constitutional futures division: estimated £2,966,269, including:

  • September 2021 – March 2022: c.£450,834. Source. Based on 10 officials at highest pay grades and one senior civil servant at average salary of £100,000 (likely to be higher). Pay grades here. Pro rata over seven months.

  • 2022-23: £1,393,090. Source. (Between 20 and 25 civil servants as referenced here and here.)

  • April 2023 – December 2023: c.£1,122,345. Source. Based on 22 civil servants as of August 2023, including 21 at highest pay grades and one senior civil servant at average salary of £100,000 (likely to be higher). Pay grades here. Pro rata over nine months. Total cost likely to be higher as there were 24 civil servants as of May 2023.


Note: At 7 September 2022, staff in the Scottish Government’s Referendums Scotland Bill Team comprised of 4 officials (graded 1 C2, 2 C1s, 1 B2). Source. It has been assumed that these salaries are part of the constitutional futures division and they have not been included in the total, but this cost (estimated at up to £234,904) may be additional.


ESTIMATED TOTAL: £3,438,255.

1 Comment

Dec 29, 2023

SNP government are a right bunch of wasters. They are riddled with incompetent unemployable people.

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