THE Scottish Government is facing accusations of “misleading the public” ahead of the annual Budget announcement.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser has written to John-Paul Marks, Scotland’s top civil servant, complaining about a tweet from the Scottish Government’s official Twitter/X account.

The MSP said the post gave the impression that spending in Westminster dictates spending decisions taken in Edinburgh.

Devolution allows the Scottish Government to decide how it spends money in areas over which it has complete control, such as health or education.

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The tweet read: “Below-inflation funding uplifts in England impact Scotland's budget.

"In the UK Government's Autumn Statement, only £10.8 million of extra funding was provided for NHS Scotland for the next year, a real-terms cut.

"This would fund just 5 hours of NHS Scotland activity in a year."

A graphic alongside the post stated: "Below-inflation funding uplifts for England's NHS mean a real-terms cut to the funding Scotland's receives for our NHS."

The issue lies in the claims that funding "for our NHS" has been cut, as the decision on where to spend the block grant is entirely the Scottish Government's.

However, it is true that due to Barnett consequentials, less money for England's NHS means less money for Scotland's overall budget.

In his letter to the Permanent Secretary, Fraser claimed the Scottish Government’s communications output is acting as “an arm of the Scottish National Party” and is “entirely party political in nature”.

He added: “I cannot believe that this is in line with the civil service code.”

In a statement to the press, the Tory shadow finance secretary said the claims in the post are “simply unacceptable”.

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Fraser said: “As [Finance Secretary] Shona Robison herself admitted just five days ago, it is up to Scottish ministers how they allocate the £545million in Barnett consequentials – £223m this year and £320m next year – stemming from the Chancellor’s autumn statement.

“This tweet would be dodgy spin coming from the SNP – but for a simply untrue claim to be made on a Scottish Government platform, run by supposedly impartial servants, is simply unacceptable. That is why I have written to the Permanent Secretary."

The Scottish Budget will be delivered on Tuesday against a stark economic backdrop, with the Fraser of Allander Institute warning that the Scottish Government is facing a £1.5 billion shortfall.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Once we have received the letter we will respond in due course.

“The Deputy First Minister has been repeatedly clear that of the consequentials funding received in the UK Autumn Statement, only £10.8 million were derived from health spending.

“Income tax proposals for the coming financial year will be set out as part of the Scottish Budget.”