Scottish independence: Lego dropped from Treasury 'Buzzfeed'

A screen grab from Gov.uk The list initially used Lego figures to illustrate ways people could spend their money

Toy maker Lego has forced the UK government to stop using its characters to illustrate a campaign against Scottish independence.

The Treasury has removed a series of images of Lego from a "Buzzfeed style" item on its website.

Analysis

The Treasury argues that being part of the UK is worth £1,400 a year to every Scot.

It calls this the UK dividend and used Lego characters to illustrate 12 things you could buy with that cash.

The list suggested things like "280 hotdogs at the Edinburgh festival" or "fish and chips with your family every day for around ten weeks".

Lego initially said that it would not give permission for its stock images to be used. By late on Friday, the Treasury website stated that the pictures it was using had not been supplied by Lego.

By Saturday morning, the Lego images had been removed. Lego said that it had asked for them to be taken down and this has been done.

This is an embarrassment for the Treasury but it has generated more publicity for their campaign than might otherwise have been the case.

The Scottish government has set out policy ideas which it says would make Scotland £1,000 per head better off within 15 years if there's a "Yes" vote in the referendum.

Lego asked not to be associated with the campaign because it is "politically neutral", while the SNP described the list as "patronising".

A government source had said it was a "good humorous way of making a point".

The list suggests 12 ways in which Scots could spend the £1,400 which the Treasury says they benefit from as UK citizens.

Among the suggestions is: "Watch Aberdeen play all season with two mates - with a few pies and Bovrils thrown in for good measure."

The site also suggests: "Share a meal of fish and chips with your family every day for around 10 weeks, with a couple of portions of mushy peas thrown in."

The document originally appeared on a Community page of the Buzzfeed website, created by a UK government account.

SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said the list was based on "bogus figures" and said the UK government's estimates on the start-up costs of independence had already been discredited.

In a statement, Lego said it would not have given permission for any of its images to be used.

A spokeswoman for the toy manufacturer said: "We are a children's toy company and therefore all of our communication is targeted towards children.

"People all over the world use Lego to depict stories and scenarios - some of it not to our knowledge. We maintain our position of being a politically neutral company."

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