THE former top Treasury official Sir Nicholas Macpherson will today be among the experts taking part in the first meeting of the Scottish Government’s new council of economic advisers.

Macpherson’s appointment to the body was met with opposition by some in the Yes movement when it was announced earlier this month.

He was the most senior mandarin in George Osborne’s department ahead of the 2014 referendum when the then chancellor opposed sharing the pound with an independent Scotland.

The civil servant was criticised by the SNP and Yes campaigners for publishing his advice to Treasury ministers warning against a currency union with Scotland in February 2014.

That criticism was later supported by a cross-party committee of MPs looking into the role of the civil service in the Scottish independence referendum campaign.

The Public Affairs Select Committee said the Treasury mandarin had risked the Civil Service’s reputation for impartiality.

READ MORE: Here's who's on the Scottish Government's new economic council

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said Macpherson had “crossed the line” of civil service neutrality.

Many believe the stance he and the Treasury took significantly weakened the Yes campaign and helped lead to a No vote.

But after the EU referendum in 2016, Macpherson adopted a more open approach to independence.

In an extraordinary column in The Financial Times in July 2016, Macpherson said the UK’s decision to leave Europe “changes terms of debate north of the Border” and that Scotland could “develop further as a financial centre”.

He wrote: “With the UK leaving the EU, there is a golden opportunity for proponents of Scottish independence to re-appraise their economic prospectus.

“Clearly, membership of the EU will lie at the heart of it. That will enable Scotland to have access to the biggest market in the world without the uncertainties that are likely to face the rest of the UK for many years to come.

“It would also provide a historic opportunity for Edinburgh to develop further as a financial centre, as London-based institutions hedge their bets on the location of staff and activities.

Macpherson went on to say: “An independent Scotland committed to the EU would have an extraordinary opportunity to attract inward investment as well as highly skilled migrants.

“If it can develop a clear and coherent economic strategy ahead of any future referendum, it not only stands a better chance of winning, it will also increase the probability that an independent Scotland inside the EU can hit the ground running.”

On currency, he says there should be a Scottish pound supported by a central bank, rather than an attempted currency union with the remainder of the UK.

He said that, despite resistance from Spain worried about Catalonia, the EU would have a “huge interest in fast-tracking” Scotland’s membership.

Ahead of the first meeting of the new economic advisory council, Scotland’s Finance Secretary Kate Forbes invited ideas from business owners on how to shape a 10-year economic strategy.