THE Scottish Government has allocated £20 million to holding an independence referendum next year.

On Tuesday Finance Secretary Kate Forbes set out a multi-year resource spending review in Holyrood.

In the 79-page accompanying document, funding for a ballot on Scottish independence is costed at £20m under the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture brief.

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Cabinet Secretary Angus Robertson was in Brussels as the announcement was made, as part of a trip to strengthen ties with the European Union.

In the spending review the “delivery of a referendum on independence” is listed as one of the areas that the Scottish Government will support over the coming years.

The 2014 independence referendum cost £15.8m, an increase of £2.1m more than had been estimated. Extra funds were required due to the high turn-out. 

The National: A table in the Scottish Government's resource spending review shows £20m was allocated to indyref2A table in the Scottish Government's resource spending review shows £20m was allocated to indyref2

After the funding pledge was revealed, SNP policy chief Toni Giugliano told The National: "The people of Scotland voted for an independence referendum to take place in this parliament - and it's the job of government to deliver on that promise.  

"For the Westminster parties it will never be the right time to hold an independence referendum - yet they went ahead with a disastrous Brexit in the middle of a pandemic which made our country poorer. 

"The Scottish Government spends an eye-watering £600 million each year mitigating the worst of Tory policies. Just think what Scotland could do if we weren't tied to Westminster control. 

"With independence we can escape the corruption of Westminster and the disaster of Brexit and return to the European Union which is seven times the size of the UK."

The National: SNP policy chief Giugliano said the government was delivering on an election promiseSNP policy chief Giugliano said the government was delivering on an election promise

In the wake of the news, Labour and the Tories hit out at Forbes and the Scottish Government for allocating cash to the upcoming referendum. 

After Forbes's statement in Holyrood, Daniel Johnson, Scottish Labour finance spokesperson, said: "Scots are about to be hit by the worst drop in disposal cash since records began but the SNP have nothing to offer except empty rhetoric and the same old spin.

"Fifteen years of failed SNP economic policy have got us to this point, and this dire update promises more of the same.

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"They are slashing support for economic development as our economy falls off a cliff and wasting £20m on a divisive referendum while cutting local services to the bone.

"Their economic mismanagement has led to Scots' wages growing more slowly than the rest of the UK, making this cost of living crisis all the more painful and draining money from public coffers."

Meanwhile, Scottish Tory finance spokesperson Liz Smith called on the Scottish Government to bring income tax in line with the UK.

She added: "And they must take an economically devastating independence referendum off the table, to finally prioritise Scotland’s economic growth."

The National: Greer said Labour were "misunderstanding how democracy works"Greer said Labour were "misunderstanding how democracy works"

Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer stressed that both his party and the SNP had committed to holding indyref2 as part of their 2021 manifestoes.

“Our parties combined won more votes than the three anti-referendum parties combined, which is the normal measure of who won an election," he said.

“Our shared commitment to a referendum was reaffirmed in the August 2021 Bute House Agreement which brought Greens into government. 

“The Scottish Government has a clear mandate to fund that referendum and through it the people of Scotland will determine our future. It’s really quite simple.”

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An SNP spokesperson said: "The SNP was elected just over a year ago on a cast-iron mandate to deliver an independence referendum and will honour that manifesto commitment.

"Scottish Labour have jumped into bed with the Tories in councils across Scotland and continue to side with the Tories in denying the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government has a clear mandate to hold a referendum on independence and is committed to doing so once the Covid-19 crisis has passed and, Covid allowing, within the first half of this Parliament.”