Tories spend £1m on spin ops for arch-Brexiteer Fox
THE department led by arch-Brexiteer Liam Fox racked up a £1 million bill on spin doctors in one year. Last night, the SNP blasted it as an “expensive spin operation” for right-wing Tory hardliners.
Data released under Freedom of Information laws shows the Department for International Trade spent £901,000 on salaries for communication staff from July 2016 to June 2017 and £114,000 on contractors.
Theresa May launched the ministry, which claims to be responsible for “championing free trade”, soon after she became Prime Minister in July last year.
However, SNP MSP Stuart McMillan said the department had failed to serve any purpose before the UK leaves the EU.
McMillan, who sits on Holyrood’s Europe committee, said: “At that price we’d expect to know a little more about just what exactly Liam Fox’s zombie department has achieved in the last 16 months – but the department is not one step closer to signing the promised trade deals with the wider world.
“The Department for International Trade just looks like an expensive spin operation for Liam Fox and the hardline Brexiteer wing of the Tory party. Meanwhile, far from championing free trade, businesses in the UK will face rafts of tariffs and barriers if the hardline Brexiteers get their way and the Tories crash out of the EU without a deal. The Leave campaign promised an extra £350m a week for the NHS – but instead we face a multi-billion pound divorce bill, spiralling bureaucratic costs in all three Brexit departments – and all while the Tories make deeper cuts to vital public services.”
In response, a Department for International Trade spokesperson said: “We’ve helped secure more foreign direct investment projects than ever before, supported thousands of businesses to export their goods and services – including £262 billion in services exports alone in the last year – and started work creating our own independent trading policy for the first time in 40 years.
“None of this would have been possible without a communications team that provides businesses and international investors with vital information on exporting and doing business in Britain.”