Scottish Government squanders £8 million on record number of luxury and short-haul flights

August 23, 2012 10:18 AM

Since May 2007, the Scottish Government has spent more than £8 million on a record numbers of flights – an average of 25 flights for every working day since taking office. Earlier this year, nearly £50,000 was spent on a 4-day trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco where Alex Salmond attended the US premiere of the animated fantasy film Brave, which is set in the Highlands of Scotland.

In the last five years, Ministers and officials have travelled on more than 32,000 flights, over 4,000 of them on business and first class journeys, to destinations all over the world.

One ticket to the US cost £7,000, while more than £20,000 was frittered away on five luxury business class tickets for staff to travel to locations like Doha and Abu Dhabi.

The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, also reveal that several Scottish ministers have spent thousands of pounds on short flights between London and Edinburgh, despite pledging to cut costs and carbon emissions from flights.

Our previous research shows that it is not just Scottish politicians and bureaucrats who like the jet-set lifestyle. Just last week we revealed that  nearly £500,000 was spent on flights by councils in the North East over the last three years. TPA activists in Hampshire also uncovered £135,000 worth of flights spending over two years. We also found that councils in the Midlands (excluding Birmingham) spent £275,000 on flights over the same period.

All of those flights can be viewed on this interactive map.

With modern communications and technology, many long distance journeys are now increasingly unnecessary. Public sector bodies are having to make savings so they should be working a lot harder to cut their travel costs.Since May 2007, the Scottish Government has spent more than £8 million on a record numbers of flights – an average of 25 flights for every working day since taking office. Earlier this year, nearly £50,000 was spent on a 4-day trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco where Alex Salmond attended the US premiere of the animated fantasy film Brave, which is set in the Highlands of Scotland.

In the last five years, Ministers and officials have travelled on more than 32,000 flights, over 4,000 of them on business and first class journeys, to destinations all over the world.

One ticket to the US cost £7,000, while more than £20,000 was frittered away on five luxury business class tickets for staff to travel to locations like Doha and Abu Dhabi.

The figures, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, also reveal that several Scottish ministers have spent thousands of pounds on short flights between London and Edinburgh, despite pledging to cut costs and carbon emissions from flights.

Our previous research shows that it is not just Scottish politicians and bureaucrats who like the jet-set lifestyle. Just last week we revealed that  nearly £500,000 was spent on flights by councils in the North East over the last three years. TPA activists in Hampshire also uncovered £135,000 worth of flights spending over two years. We also found that councils in the Midlands (excluding Birmingham) spent £275,000 on flights over the same period.

All of those flights can be viewed on this interactive map.

With modern communications and technology, many long distance journeys are now increasingly unnecessary. Public sector bodies are having to make savings so they should be working a lot harder to cut their travel costs.

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