Jo Swinson has slammed the Scotland Office for “a staggering waste of public money.”
The Scotland Office is inefficient and overstaffed, according to figures uncovered by Jo Swinson and her Liberal Democrat colleagues.
The department employs a full time press officer, despite distributing just 47 press releases this year. Given that 12 of the press releases are monthly labour force figures, the number of unique press releases for the year stands at 35, or an average of less than three per month.
The cost of the Press Office since 2000 has been almost £900,000.
Further research has shown that the Scotland Office has sent just 350 official letters since 5th May 2005 – an average of 4.66 per week, or less than one per working day. It has received an average of less than 7 pieces of official correspondence per day since 5th May 2005.
The Scotland Office maintain well-appointed rooms in their head office, Dover House, for the use of visiting Scottish ministers and law officers, which have been used for 37 days or part-days this year.
“This is a staggering waste of public money which could be better spent elsewhere. The Government is so committed to spin that it has posted a press officer to a department that distributes less than three unique press releases per month.
“Their lack of anything constructive to do is further demonstrated by the dearth of official correspondence, both sent and received.
“Sending less than one official letter per day from a department with 22 staff is appallingly inefficient. What are these people doing all day?
“Liberal Democrats have long argued for the merger of the Scotland Office, Wales Office and Northern Ireland Office into a merged Department for Nations and Regions. This would save the absurd duplication of posts that has existed since devolution.”
Read the Parliamentary Questions that uncovered the above facts and figures:
- Scotland office press office running costs
- Visits to the Scotland Office by Scottish Executive Ministers
- Correspondence received by the Scotland office
- Correspondence processed by the Scotland office