BORIS Johnson and his ministers are “clearly in a panic” over growing support for independence as new figures show they are spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on an anti-independence campaign, according to the SNP.

Newly released Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, and recently published job adverts, reveal Downing Street is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on new staff for its “Union Unit”.

It follows a separate FOI response in December, which pointed to rising expenditure on spin doctors, communications and advertising at the Scotland Office.

READ MORE: New Statesman says Holyrood victory for SNP 'unarguable mandate' for indyref2

Together, the data shows the Tory Government is spending millions on its anti-independence campaign, despite claiming there will not be a referendum and there is no panic within Number 10.

The figures, compiled by the SNP, reveal:

• £110,000 – £114,999 on salary for Oliver Lewis, the former Vote Leave staffer and Brexit apprentice of Dominic Cummings, who heads the Union Unit.

READ MORE: Scottish independence: There is no panic over the Union, top Tory says

• £57,000 – £80,000 on salary for Jack Sellers, a Union Unit special adviser who works jointly with the Wales Office, and an undisclosed amount for two additional unnamed policy advisers.

• An estimated £280,000+ for “at least” four new “heads of role” posts in Michael Gove’s Union Directorate – including heads of communications, policy, analysis and engagement, each advertised at a salary of £64,500 – £70,877.

• £8,538,000 on soaring Scotland Office expenditure, which has risen by 73% since 2013/14, with spending on communications tripling from £509,343 in 2013/14 to £1,354,776 in 2019/20.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson has a new five-step plan to stop Scottish independence

• The increasing spend has seen the number of Scotland Office communications staff rise from 6 to 17, and overall staffing rise by 43 from 58 to 83 from 2011/12 to 2019/20, despite its diminishing responsibilities.

Twenty consecutive polls have now shown a majority for independence in Scotland. In the adverts for the new Union Unit posts a knowledge of Scotland is not required and is only listed as “desirable”. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace insisted on Sunday there was no panic in the UK Government about the polls, saying public opinion can change.

READ MORE: Stunning new poll records majority support for Scottish independence

The National: Stewart Hosie

SNP shadow Cabinet Office minister Stewart Hosie (above) said: “Boris Johnson is clearly in a panic about rising support for independence – if he is spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money on political campaigning.

READ MORE: SNP accuse Westminster of 'desperate attempt to cover up' Brexit deal damage

“Despite what they claim in public, the Tories know there will be an independence referendum if the people of Scotland vote for one in May – that’s democracy. But the Tories are completely clueless if they arrogantly think a No campaign run by Vote Leave Brexiteers in Westminster, with no understanding of Scotland, will persuade anyone.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Now more than ever, the people of the United Kingdom want to see the UK Government and devolved administrations working together to protect lives and livelihoods across our country.

“The PM has been clear that he thinks all parts of the UK are stronger together and he will be the voice of the majority of Scottish people who voted decisively to keep the UK together.

"He will always stand against those trying to separate the United Kingdom. Our focus has been on getting vaccines to communities, and supporting people and businesses across all parts of the UK – that remains our priority.”