Scotland Office spends nearly £1.5m on spin doctor fees since 2021

Westminster’s Scotland office has been accused of “squandering” taxpayers’ money, as more than £1.5 million is spent on spin doctors in two years.

Information disclosed through written parliamentary questions showed expenditure on communications staff was £944,645 in 2021/22 and £612,028 between April and October 2022/23.

Spending for 2020/21 was £906,177, according to the written reply from Scottish Secretary Alister Jack.

SNP MP Deidre Brock has said Mr Jack is spending the money on a “zombie unit” which offers “precisely nothing” to Scotland.

The UK Government said the attack was “baseless” as the funds are used to promote Scotland’s interests within the UK.

Ms Brock said: “Spending more than £1.5 million in less than two years on a team of spin doctors for a Scotland Office offering precisely nothing to the Scottish people is an absolutely staggering waste.

“Instead of using taxpayers’ money to help vulnerable households through the Tory-made cost-of-living crisis, Westminster’s man in Scotland, Alister Jack, continues to squander cash on his zombie unit.

“In a shameful dereliction of duty, the Scotland Office has utterly failed to stand up for Scotland at Westminster, instead gleefully championing the disastrous policies of the UK Government as they impose yet another round of austerity on top of the compounding economic pressures of Brexit.

“Why are we paying even a penny for an operation that so clearly works against the best interests of the people of Scotland?

“We cannot trust the Tories to protect the future of Scotland.

“The only way we can protect Scotland is with a referendum for recovery when the Scottish people can choose a different path with independence.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Secretary and his team play a vital role in promoting the best interests of Scotland within a strong United Kingdom and effectively representing Scotland’s interests at the heart of the UK Government.

“We won’t let this annual petty and baseless attack stop us from working with the Scottish Government to serve the people of Scotland by communicating important matters such as where to access cost-of-living support, promoting Scottish business and communities and highlighting funding opportunities across the country.

“This collaboration has been hugely successful in enabling the delivery of over £2 billion of UK Government investment directly into Scotland.”