Mike Russell under fire over claim Scotland 'pays out more than it gets back'

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Scotland's constitutional affairs minister has been accused of misleading the public over claims that the country "pays out more than gets back" as part of the UK.

Mike Russell made the claim on social media at the weekend in response to UK Government tweet highlighting official figures which show Scots get an extra £1968 in public spending per head than elsewhere in the UK.

Mike Russell says Scotland "pays out more than it gets" back from UK

Mike Russell says Scotland "pays out more than it gets" back from UK

"Actually this isn’t true," Mr Russell claimed at the time.

"Scotland pays out more than it gets back. Time to stop the fibs, Boris, and face reality - the reason you won’t let us choose our own future is because you are scared of what it would cost you."

But Scotland Office minister Douglas Ross has today insisted that the figures come from the Scottish Government's own Government Expenditure and Revenue in Scotland (GERS) figures which set out the state of Scotland's public finances.

"Politicians have a responsibility to avoid putting unsupported assertions into the public debate around Scotland’s future," Mr Ross stated in a letter to Mr Russell.

" I believe your statement has significant potential to mislead the public.

"So I ask, will you release the precise source of your public claim, one which contradicts the evidence of the Scottish Government’s own statisticians?"

The spat comes as the SNP Government in Scotland continues to argue the case for a second referendum on independence in response to Brexit. Nicola Sturgeon is keen to have the vote this year.

The economics of independence are always contentious and concerns over this were widely deemed to have been a key factor in the victory for the pro-union camp in the last referendum in 2014.