THE bill for the Scottish Government taking the independence referendum case to the Supreme Court totalled just over a quarter of a million pounds, it has been revealed.

Figures released by the government show a total of £251,728.69 was spent on the case, which concluded in November.

The panel of five justices ruled that the Scottish Parliament does not have the power to legislate for an independence referendum without Westminster’s permission.

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The Scottish Government referred its proposed legislation on a referendum to the court, asking for a ruling on its legal competence.

A two-day hearing took place in London in October, where the Scottish Government was represented by its top law officer, the Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain KC.

The bulk of the costs in the case went on external counsel at £222,869.45.

Travel and subsistence for the case cost £19,711.25 while £8,049.99 was spent on “professional services”.

Filing fees for the Supreme Court were £350 and other costs for the court were £748.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “The only reason this case was necessary was because of the democracy denying antics of the Tory government at Westminster, egged on by their Labour and Lib Dem cheerleaders.

“The Westminster parties’ bid to block Scottish democracy is utterly unsustainable and will not prevail.”

During the Budget last week, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced the £20 million earmarked for a second referendum in 2023 would instead go towards tackling fuel poverty.

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However the Scottish Government has confirmed it will continue to publish its series of white papers arguing the case for an independent Scotland.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton called for the government to end its work on the independence prospectus papers and “refund” the money spent on the Supreme Court case.

He said: “Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling on the SNP to refund every penny of that money and for all the civil servants working on yet more separation papers to be immediately redeployed.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “As the First Minister has previously set out, there has long been debate over whether the Scottish Parliament has the powers to legislate to hold a referendum.

“The Lord Advocate’s reference of this question to the Supreme Court was intended to achieve legal clarity on this point, which it has done so.

“In light of majority support within the Scottish Parliament for an independence referendum, Scottish ministers remain ready to engage with the UK Government at any point on delivering a referendum.

“In line with its Programme for Government commitments, the Scottish Government will continue to publish its Building a New Scotland prospectus series.”