£5m a year so SNP can strut on world stage
TAXPAYERS are spending nearly £5million a year so the SNP can ‘grandstand on the world stage’, figures show.
The Scottish Government has created a network of 38 offices around the world – despite foreign affairs being reserved to Westminster.
Almost half are in Brussels, the headquarters of the EU – an institution Scotland, with the rest of the UK, is about to leave.
Britain has a long-established global network of embassies, which provide a platform for diplomacy and trade.
But the Scottish Government has been increasingly keen to establish its own offices rather than work with the UK.
Last week, a response to a parliamentary question showed it has 18 in Belgium, three in Ireland, three in Germany, three in France, four in China, four in the US and three in Canada.
According to the Scottish Government figures, the total annual cost is £4,745,000.
Pamela Nash, chief executive of Unionist campaign group Scotland in Union, said: ‘It is important to attract foreign investment to Scotland, which should be the job of the officials in these offices who promote Scotland abroad. But the Scottish Government must not treat these offices as separate embassies and should work closely with the UK Government.
‘We are stronger when we work together, but the SNP too often prefers to grandstand on the world stage. Co-operation, not conflict, is the key to success.’
A TaxPayers’ Alliance spokesman said: ‘It is wrong for the Scottish Government to be wasting taxpayers’ money. Diplomacy is an important task, but this is already being done by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Scottish Government should focus on serving the people of Scotland, not wasting their money on offices.’
But a Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘Our network of offices outside the UK provide a platform to enhance Scotland’s international profile and reputation, encouraging trade and investment and showcasing Scotland as a great place to live, work, study and visit.
‘In the face of Brexit uncertainty, our international presence helps ensure Scotland continues to be an attractive place to invest and do business.’
‘Wasting the people’s money on offices’