MICHAEL Gove is setting up a new UK Government team to tackle the rising tide of Scottish independence support, reports claim.

Government press officers will be given the job of combatting work done by the SNP, it is understood.

According to the Sunday Times, Gove, the most senior Scot in Boris Johnson's government, has made the order amidst concern that the existing Union unit is failing in its remit.

An unnamed Conservative party strategist told the paper that unit is "consumed by Covid-19 and by Brexit".

He added: “Within government there’s a lot of unfocused and panicky activity. The unit has become a Brexit unit and about how the UK Government can raise its profile in Scotland.”

It's understood that a minimum of two full-time government press officers will now be charged with tackling SNP publicity as part of the move.

Special advisers are expected to be assigned to the team.

READ MORE: Alister Jack admits Brexit is fuelling Scottish independence support

Meanwhile, Gove and Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross are understood to be in discussions with party donors about funding the campaign ahead of next year's Holyrood elections.

Recent polling puts the SNP out in front and found support for independence at a record high of 58%.

It's understood that a new external pro-Union group may now be established.

Boris Johnson has said he'll stand firm against granting the Section 30 Order needed to put a second indyref on a legal footing.

But SNP ministers say that position is becoming increasingly untenable in the face of growing Yes support.

It's understood that UK ministers are concerned that many of their broadcast appearances are not shown in Scotland and that they have not had more credit for the Treasury's furlough scheme.

A Whitehall source told the paper: "There’s a plan to get more media capacity focusing on Scotland — at least a couple of dedicated people on the media side. It’s more of an explaining role than an attack unit.

"The Scottish media takes its lead from the SNP government and a lot of what they get fed is uncontested. We need to get better at explaining what we are doing.

"It also means that ministers shouldn’t be shy of explaining themselves to the Scottish parliament or the Welsh assembly if they are asked. We need to listen and engage more."