FORMER finance secretary Kate Forbes has torn into “ridiculous mistruths” from the chief executive of a pro-Union think tank.

Sam Taylor, who runs These Islands, had taken aim at the SNP MSP over a comment she made in a column for The National.

Writing on the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures ahead of their publication on Wednesday, Forbes said: “Firstly, the figures illustrate that most of the decisions are still made by the UK Government – not a fully empowered Government of an independent Scotland.

“The bottom line is that approximately 70% of the revenue figures (i.e. taxation) and 40% of the spending figures are reserved.

“That means that the UK Government controls, in full, the powers and decision-making to arrive at those reserved figures.

“That includes areas that are fully controlled by the UK Government such as pensions, or areas where the UK Government spends an overall amount and an estimate is accounted to the Scottish people, based on geography or population share, like defence, foreign affairs, aid, debt payments and North Sea oil.”

Quoting Forbes’s article, Taylor said it showed that the former finance secretary wanted to “cut the state pension in an independent Scotland”.

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Taylor wrote on X, the website formerly called Twitter: “Bold pitch from @_KateForbes, who complains that UK Gov is spending too much on pensions, which makes Gers look bad for Scotland.

“The inescapable implication is that fiscal hawk Forbes would cut the state pension in an independent Scotland, to bring down the deficit.”

Hitting back, the SNP MSP accused Taylor of spinning “ridiculous mistruths”.

She wrote: “Delightfully amusing to see Mr Taylor having to spin far-fetched and ridiculous mistruths on today of all days.

“Thankfully everybody reading this is literate (and highly intelligent) so I've got full confidence they'll understand what I wrote, rather than accept this bonkers take.”

Taylor responded to insist that the “implication” in Forbes’s statement was that she would “do things differently” than the UK’s current state pension system.

In a separate tweet promoting her column, Forbes had said she was "stating a few relevant facts and concluding that any criticism of the figures is implicitly a criticism of the status quo".

The row comes on “Gers day”, the annual publication of the figures estimating Scotland’s notional deficit as a part of the United Kingdom.

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The GERS figures for 2022-2023 showed public spending north of the Border amounted to £106.6 billion in 2022-23 – up by £9.3bn (9.5%) on the previous year.

The amount raised in taxes also rose to an estimated £87.5bn, including a record £9.4 billion in North Sea revenues.

This increased from £2.4bn in 2021-22 following the introduction of the UK Government’s energy profits levy – a windfall tax on the oil and gas industry.

Total revenue for Scotland increased by £15bn (20.7%), which compares to growth of 11.3% for the UK as a whole.

As well as the rise in North Sea revenues, Scottish Government income from other sources increased by £8.1bn (11.5%) – including a £1.9bn rise from Scottish income tax.

Overall, the GERS figures estimated that the country had a £19.1bn deficit – the equivalent of 9% of GDP. The UK as a whole had a deficit of 5.2% of GDP.