THE Scottish Government's work on independence has been paused because of the looming General Election. 

Major pieces of Scottish Government business, including the publication of the independence papers, have been shelved in the run up to the national poll.

Permanent Secretary John-Paul Marks, Scotland’s chief civil servant, informed the First Minister of the pre-election restrictions on Scottish Government business in a letter on Tuesday.

While Government work considered “essential” and parliamentary business will continue as usual, major set piece events like the Programme for Government will need to be delayed until after polling day.

The event, where the First Minister sets out their legislative agenda, was scheduled to go ahead the week beginning June 10.

Marks said the publication of an SNP legislative agenda “risks influencing the outcome of the UK General Election”.

Officials will work behind the scenes to make sure a Programme for Government is delivered after the election, he added.

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John Swinney was also advised to pause the publication of the Building a New Scotland independence papers.

The First Minister had pointed to the papers as evidence of the Scottish Government's work furthering the case for independence at the SNP's election campaign launch last week. 

The SNP remain wedded to the independence strategy agreed by the party under former leader Humza Yousaf. 

As it stands, the SNP intend to have the Scottish Government negotiate with Westminster if they win the majority of seats at the General Election. 

Asked about the preparations for this scenario last week, Swinney suggested the independence papers were the sum total of the Scottish Government's work in this area.  

Also to be delayed are the Medium-Term Financial Strategy, the Energy Strategy, the Just Transition Plan and publications on the Government’s oil and gas policy.

Marks wrote: “Consistent with the Scottish Civil Service Code and the published guidance, civil servants should sustain the proper functioning of the current Government and delivery of essential business; continuing to uphold the highest standards of propriety, integrity and impartiality in this pre-election period.

“This is part of the usual arrangements to provide assurance that as ministers you are operating consistently with the appropriate guidance, and I can confirm this is the approach being taken across all four nations.

“I consider there to be a clear case for deferral of strategic policies due to be published in the pre-election period, given this could influence the General Election.”

While Scottish Parliament business will continue as normal, Westminster wrapped up on Friday last week and there will be no MPs when Parliament is formally dissolved on Thursday.