THE National Trust for Scotland (NTS) came under fire yesterday for selling goods in its souvenir shops emblazoned with the Union flag and the words “made in the United Kingdom”.

Readers contacted The National complaining about the NTS selling Coo Too cotton adult aprons in packets with prominent Union flags and “made in United Kingdom” logos.

No details of where the aprons are actually made are given on the item, and on the NTS website they sell Couthy Coo mugs which again are said to be “made in the UK” – you can also buy a Hill House Lego kit for £125.

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The National has highlighted many instances of what we called “Union Jackery” in which many retailers and manufacturers have either ignored or downplayed the fact that goods are produced or made here in Scotland.

The latest example has angered independence supporters because almost two years ago, NTS appointed uber-Unionist television presenter Neil Oliver as its president.

One complainer pointed out: “What this means is that either this product is Scottish and they are hiding that fact behind the Union flag for whatever strange reason, or it was made elsewhere in the UK and they are ignoring local Scottish manufacturers.

“Either way the National Trust is not acting in Scotland’s best interests. It’s a Highland Coo apron, but was it made in the Highlands?”

On social media Riddly showed the Union flag-branded apron and wrote: “I’m just irritated by their bloody shops. One visit in 30 years and I find this.”

Brian McC commented: “National Trust for Englandshire. Blocked them long ago.”

Ruth Watson, founder of the Keep Scotland the Brand group, went further: “While it is accurate at this point in time to say that Scotland is a part of the UK, it is astonishing that the National Trust for Scotland, of all people, would not use the opportunity to promote Scotland’s heritage and products in their premises.

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“The apron cannot be Scottish, that is the only conclusion we can make – if it’s Scottish they should say so, but if it’s not they should say that, too.

“Given Scotland’s rich tradition for textiles and the many and superb weavers and designers that we have locally, it is disappointing that the NTS would not promote their talents and flair by buying Scottish and promoting that fact.”

NTS was at the centre of political controversy earlier this week. The National reported how the charity is considering closing Geilston Gardens in Cardross. Local MSP Jackie Baillie wants NTS to appear before Holyrood’s Public Petitions Committee to discuss the possible closure.

NTS consistently states it is politically neutral, and issued an assurance that its president Neil Oliver had no say in the design of the Coo Too apron.

Oliver once said in a newspaper article “the SNP are in the dead dog business” and added “somewhere along the line something truly awful happened and the SNP became the only joke in town, and it was on us”.

He also said that a second independence referendum would be a “hate-fest”. It is known that some pro-independence supporters resigned from NTS. Prior to his appointment in 2017, NTS underwent “restructuring” as the charity ran into financial difficulties.

A spokesperson for the National Trust for Scotland said: “This packaging is all about highlighting the fact that this textile product is made in the UK, rather than overseas. This is becoming very important to our customers who are increasingly interested in where and how their purchases were made.

“The trust works with a range of suppliers from across the UK and many local Scottish companies too to offer high quality items in our shops. Decisions about products are completely operational and taken by staff.”