Scotland’s most senior civil servant has been urged to investigate after the Scottish Government was accused of “blatantly misleading the public" with a tweet about NHS funding. 

The Scottish Conservatives have accused the taxpayer-funded St Andrew's House communications department of being "entirely party political in nature."

They said the "simply untrue" message may even be in breach of the civil service code. 

READ MORE: Michelle Mone: Sunak heads to Scotland as questions mount over PPE row

Over the weekend, the Scottish Government's official X/Twitter account claimed Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement had only resulted in £10.8m of extra funding for NHS Scotland.

However, the Chancellor’s tax and spending plans resulted in £545m worth of Barnett consequentials coming to Scotland, £223m in 2023-24 and £321m in 2024-25.

That money is not ring-fenced and the Scottish Government can allocate as much of it as they want on the health service. 

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.”

In a letter to John Paul Marks, the Scottish Government’s Permanent Secretary, Murdo Fraser said the statement was “untrue.”

He added: “As you will be aware, UK Government budgets do not provide ring-fenced funding for specific policy areas in Scotland such as the NHS.

“It is for the Scottish Government to determine how Barnett consequentials are allocated within its budget.”

The Tory MSP continued: “You will understand my concern that we have seen a social media post from the Scottish Government that is, at best, misleading.

“Moreover, it now appears that the Scottish Government’s communications output is acting as an arm of the Scottish National Party, and is entirely party political in nature.

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

READ MORE: Tory MP Miriam Cates under investigation by MPs' standards watchdog

Commenting, Mr Fraser said: “The SNP – and more especially the Scottish Government – have to stop blatantly misleading the public."

He added: “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."

The tweet itself was subject to a Community Note, with X/Twitter users pointing out that it was inaccurate.

The note read: "This tweet is misleading. UK Government budgets do not provide funding for specific policy areas in Scotland such as the NHS. The Scottish Government is free to spend the money it receives from UK government as a result of the autumn statement however it likes."

The row comes ahead of the Scottish budget, due to be delivered by Shona Robison on Tuesday.

In a statement on Sunday, the Finance Secretary said the level of funding available to Scotland was "deeply challenging."

She added: “The autumn statement was devastating for Scottish finances. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has acknowledged that it will lead to planned real-terms cuts in public service spending.”

The minister continued: “We refuse to follow UK Government spending decisions – indeed, we are doing all we can to mitigate them.

“We are proud that Scotland has a social contract which ensures people are protected by a safety net should they fall on hard times.

“This contract underpins this budget, with targeted funding to protect people and public services.”

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.”