The SNP-Green government must use Thursday’s budget to scrap £20 million worth of spending on a second divisive referendum and use it on crucial devolved areas.
Despite losing the Supreme Court case, ministers have yet to repurpose the millions of pounds earmarked for the repeat vote on separation.
Pro-UK campaign organisation Scotland in Union pointed to polling which showed, even before the Supreme Court ruling, just 28% of people supported using £20 million on another referendum bid, adding that the money should be used on other things, especially given the pressures facing public services.
Scotland in Union highlighted a number of examples where the £20 million sum could be put to good use, including:
Covering the salaries of 712 new police officers
Doubling the fuel insecurity fund for the most vulnerable householders
Helping more than 50,000 families cope with rising grocery bills
Paying for hundreds of new teachers in the first 12 months of their career
Deputy First Minister John Swinney is expected to reveal his plans for the £20 million, and other areas of Scottish Government spending, during his budget statement on Thursday.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said:
“There is only one sensible and decent choice for the SNP-Green government to make and that’s to immediately redirect this £20 million fund.
“It would be inexcusable for John Swinney to stand before Holyrood on Thursday and do anything else.
“Even during good times it would be wrong for the nationalists to use taxpayers’ money in this way.
“But given the immense challenges facing people, businesses and public services, it would be a particularly poor decision.
“We’ve outlined a few ways in which this money could be used, and there are many more deserving causes across every area of Scottish Government responsibility.
“John Swinney must ensure that he supports those who need this money the most, and not further fan the flames of division and uncertainty.”