A FORMER Scottish Office chief statistician has accused an influential Westminster committee of perpetuating “dangerous myths” about Scotland’s finances.

Westminster’s cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) released the findings of its inquiry into the “complicated and opaque” funding for devolved administrations late last month.

PAC chair Meg Hillier of Labour called for greater transparency into the Treasury’s cash allocations and the committee – which includes among its members the Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman of the SNP – said more parliamentary scrutiny is needed.

Now economist Jim Cuthbert has accused the committee of misleading the public by spreading “dangerous myths” about the Barnett formula.

Writing exclusively in The National today, he says the report “does not reflect at all the reality” of Scotland’s fiscal settlement, post-referendum, or bust claims that the system is over-generous to Edinburgh and offers enhanced protection for the economy.

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Branding the paper a “regrettable missed opportunity,” Cuthbert – who also criticised SNP MPs and Boris Johnson – wrote: “What the report fails to do is to dispel certain myths about the operation of the Barnett formula: in fact, it does the opposite, and perpetuates these myths.”

Cuthbert, whose career also took him to the Treasury and the Australian Government – backed the transparency call.

However, he stressed: “What should have been an opportunity to introduce reality into the current debate has been missed. So we continue to exist in a strange, looking glass world, where it is quite clear that both of the above myths about the Barnett formula are still widely believed.”

Commenting on the release of the report in late July, Hillier said: “The complicated and often opaque method for calculating funding levels for devolved administrations is based on population levels and needs across the UK agreed 40 years ago.”