Independence civil servant role defended

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THE Scottish Government today defended the appointment of a new top civil servant to oversee its drive for independence, saying the post had been approved by the UK Government.

The Evening News revealed yesterday how the new director general for strategy and external affairs will be paid a six-figure salary to press the SNP’s case for more economic and tax powers. Opposition politicians said it sounded like creating a department for independence.

But a Scottish Government source said since the civil service is a reserve responsibility, the new post was approved by a Whitehall committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell.

The source added: “We are very well served north and south of the border by a professional and independent civil service which carries forward the policies of the duly elected government.”