Scottish Daily Mail

Well that takes the biscuit... off icials splash out £6,000 on sugary snacks

- By Claire Mckim

IT has long championed healthy eating campaigns and issued numerous dire warnings about Scotland’s obesity crisis.

But it seems the Scottish Government is not always keen to practise what it preaches.

According to new figures released under Freedom of Informatio­n laws, officials and their visitors have guzzled their way through £6,000-worth of shortbread, pastries, scones and other sweet treats in only two months. The figures show that in August and September last year, the Victoria Quay offices in edinburgh spent more than £2,000, while the bill for sugary snacks at St Andrew’s house totalled £1,400.

In the same two months, the health department spent £1,400 on sweet treats.

When other offices including Buchanan house and highlander house are added in, the total comes to around £6,000.

The lowest spending office was the Marine lab, which spent £46.99 on 69 biscuits and seven scones.

Scottish Tory MSP Alex Johnstone said: ‘The public will be surprised the Scottish Government has seen fit to spend this much on shortbread. We know that Alex Salmond liked to boast about handing out Tunnock’s teacakes at Bute house but perhaps taxpayers would be less amused if they could see the final bill.’

It comes only months after the Scottish Daily Mail revealed that the NHS had spent more than £2million on snacks and drinks for meetings and training sessions in three years.

Eben Wilson of Taxpayer-Scotland said: ‘ Maybe the Scottish Government should look again at its department­al spending and put a circular around to all staff asking them to reconsider their sugar intake taken in at taxpayers’ expense.

‘Tightening down on this sort of discretion­ary spending would help support frontline services – and presumably help reduce frontal expansion.’

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘ Catering provision is only permitted for events or meetings with external visitors.

‘As these figures indicate, hospitalit­y spend applies to only a small portion of the events and meetings that take place.’

A breakdown of the Government’s health department bill shows that stacks of biscuits costing 54p, croissants priced at £1.56 and 81p shortbread were bought in.

In January this year, the Mail reported how two Scottish health boards alone had spent more than £820,000 on biscuits, hot drinks and snacks since 2011.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran topped the list with a bill of £417,644, closely followed by Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which spent £410,568. NHS Lanarkshir­e was third with a spend of £247,993 on biscuits, sandwiches and hot drinks.

The Tayside health board spent £244,073, while NHS Fife said that its total spending on snacks for the three years was £194,090.

‘The public will be surprised’

 ??  ?? Get shortie: A favourite sweet treat
Get shortie: A favourite sweet treat

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