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  By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has written to the Information Commissioner calling for action to be taken to ensure the UK Government publishes the details of its polling on the referendum – after it emerged that the true cost now stands at £300,000.

The UK Government has dismissed previous calls for transparency around its polling on the referendum – and has rejected Freedom of Information requests on the issue, arguing that the polling was used to formulate government policy.

This is despite the findings of the poll, carried out by Ipsos-MORI, being shared with key figures in the No camp and being used to inform their campaign against independence.  There were claims that the survey showed a surge in support for a Yes vote.

The Sunday Post recently reported that the findings of the poll had been passed to the Better Together campaign and were being used to inform the organisation’s campaign strategy.

In his letter, Mr Crawford writes: "It is entirely unacceptable for the UK Government to use public funds in this way and to continue to withhold the information.

"In the interests of fairness and transparency, I believe that the polling details should be published as requested by the original Freedom of Information request.

"In any event, I am concerned that the UK Government may seek to delay processing Freedom of Information requests and FOI appeals on this matter until after the referendum, and therefore would be grateful if you could intervene in order to ensure that they are properly responded to by the UK Government in advance of September's vote."

The need for transparency on the polling has grown even greater in recent days after it emerged that the true cost of the polls now stands at £300,000 – much greater than the previously accepted figure of £140,000.

Commenting, SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said:

"The UK Government has spent £300,000 of public money on what is essentially private polling for the No campaign - it is unacceptable that taxpayers are expected to bankroll the No camp in this way.

"With the true cost of this polling seemingly rising all the time – and with the UK Government refusing to publish the details in response to FOI requests – I have written to the Information Commissioners north and south of the border asking that they intervene to ensure that the FOI requests are properly responded to before the referendum.


"The UK Government has tried to fob off FOIs by saying that the polling was used to formulate government policy.  This excuse just doesn’t wash when the results have been shared with the No campaign – and the policy of the UK Government was already avowedly anti-independence.

"It doesn’t matter how bad the poll’s findings are for David Cameron and the No campaign – people in Scotland paid for these polls and they have a right to see the results in full."

Comments  

 
# ramstam 2014-07-08 07:06
Astonishing that the cost of this poll has now been revealed as not the reported £50,000 but £300,000.
For that kind of money it must be hell of a detailed and gey useful to the NO side. The YES campaign have a right to this information - paid for by the taxpayer and of interest to us.
Surely the Edinburgh agreement was about even handedness and fairness in the campaign. David Cameron must be asked why only one side has access to this data if his signature is worth anything.
 
 
# gerrydotp 2014-07-08 08:16
£720,000 for the booklet, £300,000 for the Poll.

We're spending some amount of money to convince ourselves to vote No.

Hope it's all being recorded against the NO campaign spending.
 
 
# UpSpake 2014-07-08 11:26
If you Google the Edinburgh Agreement you will see it is a vacuous document with no standing in International Law.
In fact, the Westminster administration is already in breach of international law by commissioning these documents/polls in favor of the No campaign.
I'm sure that the Establishment in London know full well where they stand legally they are hoping that the SNP being so naieve on such matters will never challenge them on such a basis.
Equally, if the Scots Government were sufficiently competent, they would be keeping the Council of Europe fully appraised on all such matters.
They could also call on the OSCE to both monitor the election and to oversee the activities of the media and in particular the BBC as any retribution at a later date will be seen as nothing more than sour grapes.
 
 
# Jamie Black 2014-07-08 12:33
What's this I read? Another rehashed story from NewsnetScotland ? Surely not?

Funny how the SNP are getting their knickers in a twist - remember this is the very same SNP that refused to publish legal advice on EU membership. Refused completely.


Oh, then revealed they never had any either....just fancy that!
 
 
# gopher3 2014-07-08 14:47
Hope it's all being recorded against the NO campaign spending.

Probably being taken off the block grant given to Scotland. :)
 
 
# Namorrodor 2014-07-08 16:07
Quoting gopher3:
Probably being taken off the block grant given to Scotland. :)


Given Westminster's creative accounting ability, the amount charged will be at least 18 times that...
 
 
# canuckistan 2014-07-08 14:59
This is the polling you know about. Tip of iceberg. Also, they're probably being used to create psycho/demographic mapping to determine groups, profiles, typologies etc. in order to inform strategy and approach. The buggers are more than worried.
 
 
# andy-cap 2014-07-08 15:31
£300.000 pounds I'm absolutely flabbergasted, that the taxpayer has forked out this amount of cash, and to add insult to injury the results of the poll are, confidential.

Some sort of explanation is definitely required from Westminster and the Better Together camp.
 

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