Scotland Office costs indefensible

The Scotland Office employs 20 policy officers with a responsibility for answering correspondence, despite receiving just 39 letters from MPs and Peers in the past year, Liberal Democrat research has revealed.

This compares with 228 letters sent to the Planning Inspectorate, 68 to the Rural Development Service and 51 letters to the Pesticide Safety Directorate.

However, the department still managed to spend almost £18,000 on stationery.

The Scotland Office also increased its spending on hospitality by 32%, spending over £23,000 in the past year. This is almost twice the amount spent by the Wales Office.

The department’s press office has managed to write an average of one press release per week during the past year.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael MP, who uncovered the figures, said:

“As tensions between Westminster and Holyrood grow, the Scotland Office appears to be more concerned with hosting soirées than communicating with Edinburgh.

“Employing twenty staff to write an average of two official letters each year is indefensible.

“The Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Offices should merge to create a Department for Nations and Regions, with a full time seat at the Cabinet table.”