THE Scottish Government is set to be investigated by UK officials over concerns it has been spending public money on matters not within its remit, according a peer.

But more recent reports have confirmed that the UK Government is not in fact probing the independence spending, despite the Labour lord's claims

Officials in the Treasury and the Office of the Advocate General of Scotland will look into money spent working on Scottish independence which, as a matter of the constitution, is reserved to Westminster.

Scottish Labour peer George Foulkes, who has been campaigning on the issue, said he had been assured by the Keith Stewart, the Advocate General for Scotland, that “ultra-vires” expenditure would be looked into.

Ultra-vires is Latin and means "beyond the powers". It describes actions taken by government bodies or corporations that exceed the scope of power given to them by laws or corporate charters.

The National: Labour peer Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Foulkes (above) told the House of Lords: “The Advocate General for Scotland has agreed, at my request, to instruct his officials to investigate ultra-vires expenditure by the Scottish Government.”

He then asked Treasury minister Joanna Penn to “give her assurance that her officials in the Treasury will work co-operatively” with the Advocate General’s officials.

Penn responded: “I can give him that assurance.”

This comes after First Minister Humza Yousaf created a minister for independence role for Jamie Hepburn with civil servants in Scotland continuing to work on papers for independence.

Foulkes, a former Labour Scotland Office minister, has previously claimed it is illegal for the SNP to spend “UK taxpayers’ money” to plan for a second referendum and promote the case for independence.

In July 2022, Conservatives in the House of Lords rejected his repeated pleas for the Scottish Government to be forbidden from spending money on a future referendum.

The UK and Scottish Governments have been approached for comment.