The Scottish Government has been accused of doctoring documents in order to present the “half truth” over its proposed oil fund.
The allegation follows the publication of a paper from the Fiscal Commission Working Group outlining how a Norwegian-style arrangement could be set up if voters back independence next year.
This week it emerged that civil servants had earlier warned the SNP that squirrelling away North Sea revenues into a savings account for the future would mean higher taxes or public spending cuts.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said she ran both papers through university cheating software and found the commission’s findings had ignored all the negative elements of the civil service report and kept the good ones.
“Whole sections had been cut and pasted – entire paragraphs on Scotland’s projected net fiscal debt, on the country’s debt interest payments and on notional borrowing costs,” she said.
“All the good stuff made the grade, all the bad stuff hit the bin. It’s the Alastair Campbell school of dodgy dossier writing.”
Earlier Labour leader Johann Lamont was pulled up by Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick when she claimed the first minister was “simply dishonest”. She withdrew her remark but added: “I have to say I don’t know what word you use to describe a government that says one thing in private and something different in public.”
The government plan is to set up two oil funds – a long-term scheme into which oil and gas revenues are paid and a short-term kitty to buffer the first one with contributions from when tax receipts are high.
Mr Salmond said the Fiscal Commission had said that “in principle” investments could be made into the two oil funds “without an automatic offsetting change to public spending and taxation”.
And he quoted from Finance Secretary John Swinney who said it was widely assumed that Scotland “would have to run an absolute fiscal surplus before investing in a savings fund.”