Scotland was the first part of the UK where taxpayers could see their politicians' expenses claims. Now the Scottish Government have published all items of spending in April above £25,000 on their website, you can view them here. It is far more detailed information than we got from the COINS release from the Treasury the week before last and is the kind of thing that the Government in Whitehall hope to produce later this year.
There are some very interesting items in there, here are some early finds:
- £46,000 paid to MediaCom for "Social Advertising - Go Greener"
- £187,000 paid to The Union Advertising Agency Limited" for "Strategic Communications - Wellbeing"
- £27,000 paid to the Department of Energy and Climate Change for climate change policy development and implementation and another £95,025 to Sniffer (Scotland & Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research) for the same objective
- £4,892,250 in total for fire pensions
Again, take a look yourself and please let us know if you find anything. Bear in mind that, while this is for the month of April, a lot of the items are annual payments.
The one problem is that the release comes in the form of a PDF. That makes it impossible to really analyse the data in a spreadsheet or database without some serious work processing the document. We'll try and get that done as soon as possible. But there is no reason this kind of data can't just be put out as a spreadsheet in the first place.