‘No’ campaign bungles costing taxpayers thousands

UK ministers have been left red-faced after producing thousands of anti-independence leaflets that had to be pulped.

The Sunday Post has learned the original version of a leaflet to be sent to every home in Scotland had a photo of a tradesman and his van with a company name on the side. It is understood last-minute checks discovered there was a company of the same name and the leaflets were binned for fear of any comeback from the business owner.

It is thought the error will have cost tens of thousands of pounds to correct and it has been suggested that it was Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander who spotted the flaw.

Meanwhile, The Sunday Post has also learned the Scotland Office is contacting major employers around the country to see if they want to distribute copies of the pro-Union booklet for their staff.

SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said last night: “It looks like Danny Alexander has some serious questions to answer his credibility is in the spotlight again.

“I intend to table questions at Westminster as soon as possible to get some answers about this. People will be rightly shocked if Danny Alexander did waste taxpayers’ money.

“It follows the revelation that an even larger amount of public money, £300,000, was used to conduct secret opinion polls on independence for the Westminster Government which they still refuse to publish, despite it being public money and the findings having reportedly being shared with the No campaign.”

The Cabinet Office, overseen by Francis Maude, was responsible for producing the leaflets. It was also the department responsible for commissioning polling on the independence issue that the UK Government refuses to make public.

The total cost of printing 2.5 million copies of the booklet to deliver to every home in Scotland came to £720,000 or roughly 30p each.

Sources close to Danny Alexander confirmed the bungle had taken place while a Downing Street source would only say that the booklet had been through “a lot of checking”.

Now the Cabinet Office is stalling on answering a Freedom Of Information request asking what happened and exactly how much it cost.

When asked if it was true the leaflets had been pulped, a spokeswoman said: “We won’t provide a running commentary on the printing schedule.”