£500k le­gal bill for snooper plan

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Mau­reen Sug­den

THE Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment has spent nearly £500,000 of tax­pay­ers’ money on the le­gal costs re­lat­ing to its con­tro­ver­sial state snooper plan.

The bill re­lated to de­fend­ing the Named Per­son scheme in the courts presently stands at £479,461, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased af­ter a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest.

Op­po­nents it say that it is an­other sign the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment should ‘scrap the whole scheme’. The rev­e­la­tion of the cost comes just a week af­ter it emerged more money will be ploughed into it.

Just last year, a Supreme Court judg­ment found the Named Per­son scheme was largely un­law­ful, forc­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment back to the draw­ing board. Now so­cial work­ers and health vis­i­tors are in­creas­ingly con­cerned about how it will work in prac­tice. Un­der the pro­pos­als, a Named Per­son such as a teacher or health vis­i­tor will be ap­pointed to safe­guard the wel­fare of ev­ery child in Scot­land.

Fig­ures re­leased by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment show that it ini­tially spent £278,916 de­fend­ing the Named Per­son scheme in the courts af­ter its le­gal­ity was chal­lenged.

Al­though judges at the Court of Ses­sion twice ruled that the scheme could go ahead, the No To Named Per­son cam­paign group then took the case to the Supreme Court.

De­fend­ing the plans in the UK’s high­est court cost Scot­tish tax­pay­ers £200,545, the data shows.

No To Named Per­son spokesman Si­mon Calvert de­scribed the bill as ‘just a drop in the bucket’ when the to­tal cost of the scheme was taken into ac­count.

Scot­tish Tory ed­u­ca­tion spokesman Liz Smith said: ‘This is a very con­sid­er­able sum of tax­pay­ers’ money which, I am sure the pub­lic will agree, would have been much bet­ter spent on the most im­por­tant pri­or­ity of rais­ing at­tain­ment in our schools.’

A Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: ‘The Named Per­son ser­vice will en­sure chil­dren and young peo­ple and their fam­i­lies get ac­cess to the right sup­port at the right time from the right peo­ple.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.