£500k legal bill for snooper plan
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.’