£3.3 BILLION – that’s how much more Scotland would have spent this year if it was independent, it is claimed.

The figure is based on SNP spending plans, compared with Westminster austerity.

The cost-cutting project began under the Cameron-Clegg government of 2010 and has seen welfare slashed while costly projects like Brexit and Trident replacement are pursued.

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The UK Government insists it is giving fair funding to the Edinburgh Parliament.

But releasing the £3.3bn figure, the SNP said the Holyrood budget is now worth £1.5bn less in real terms than it was at the start of the decade.

The party claims its proposed fiscal rule for an independent Scotland would mean real terms rises in public spending each year.

However, it proposes that the deficit would decrease under the plan.

The party said: “In 2018/19 public spending in Scotland increased by 2.5%, but revenues increased by 4.9% – this resulted in the deficit falling by 1.1%.

“The latest GERS figures show that Scotland is already ahead of the trajectory set out by the Sustainable Growth Commission on the reduction of notional deficit. The Sustainable Growth Commission modelled a deficit of 7.1% in 2021/22, but in the most recent GERS in 18/19 the deficit is 7%.”

The claims come days after the Scottish Government set out its “detailed democratic case” for a second independence referendum in a 38-page document aimed at securing the Section 30 from Boris Johnson that would clear the legal hurdle to asking Scots that constitutional question.

The National: Ian Blackford

Commenting on the spending figures, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “After a decade of Tory austerity, Scotland faces yet another five years or more of Tory rule we never voted for.

“The SNP’s plan for an independent Scotland would see responsible management of our public finances, but would reject the austerity approach followed by the Tories. If we’d followed that approach since 2010, Scotland would have seen an extra £3.3bn of spending on public services this year.

“At the end of a decade of disastrous Tory austerity, which has hit growth and put huge pressure on public services across the UK, the Tories should finally apologise. Scotland is more than rich enough to be independent – and by taking decisions for ourselves, we can build a better country.”

Yesterday the 19,000-member-strong Federation of Small Businesses Scotland (FSB Scotland) warned the third decade of devolution will bring “an unprecedented period of change”.

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Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “There are now 100,000 more businesses north of the border than when the Scottish Parliament reconvened.

“But for those business leaders looking for the next 10 years to be more stable than the last 20, the tea leaves aren’t promising.”

He went on: “The new UK Government has a refreshed mandate to ensure the UK leaves the EU. While action can be taken to minimise the impact of this move, by for example giving firms the right support and enough time to adapt, this will inevitably lead to disruption. And there’s no doubt that the SNP’s overwhelming victory at the General Election will reignite the debate about our own constitutional future.”