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Monday, June 17, 2024

Cost of Supreme Court Indyref2 case revealed

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The Scottish government spent more than £250,000 on the Supreme Court case about holding another independence referendum, new figures show.

The Supreme Court ruled in November that the Scottish government cannot hold an independence referendum without the UK government’s consent.

Scottish government figures show £251,728.69 was spent on the court case.

The bulk of this outlay was on legal fees for the two-day hearing.

The Scottish government said the Supreme Court case had achieved its aim of bringing legal clarity on the issue of legal powers to hold a referendum.

But critics claim it was a waste of money.

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Scottish Conservative constitution spokesman Donald Cameron said: “Taxpayers will be appalled that this significant sum of their money has been frittered away by the SNP.

“The fact legal experts said they were destined to lose makes it all the worse.

“It is a disgraceful waste of public money at a time when Scots are grappling with the cost-of-living crisis and our NHS is totally overwhelmed.”

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had set out plans to hold a referendum on 19 October next year.

The legal right to do this was tested by the Supreme Court and it ruled unanimously that she does not have the power to do so because the issue is reserved to Westminster.

The UK government has refused to grant formal consent for a referendum.

The bulk of the Scottish government’s costs in the case went on external counsel (£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.

During the Scottish budget last week, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced £20m earmarked for a second referendum next year would instead go towards tackling fuel poverty.

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.”

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