The taxpayer will naturally be concerned to read this and no doubt would like to know why his money was spent in this way. However, since £796,660 of it was spent on settlements covered by non-disclosure agreements he will never get an answer.
The SNP of course has considerable form in this regard. Responses to Freedom of Information requests are routinely refused, delayed or redacted beyond comprehension.
Pressure is regularly exerted – in some cases successfully – upon what should be independent bodies such as Public Health Scotland, the National Records of Scotland and the OECD to alter and/or delay reports.
Demands to release details of legal advice on issues of national interest have been simply refused. Currently Scottish Government committees are being thwarted in their efforts to make ministers reveal crucial information on the awarding of the Calmac ferries contract and the dealings with Sanjeev Gupta.
These are only some examples of the culture of secrecy at the heart of this SNP government. The SNP is now pinning all its hopes on a last desperate weapon in its armoury of secession slogans – the so-called “denial of democracy” – a perfect example of which is provided by its own tenacious commitment to shrouding its operations in secrecy.
Colin Hamilton, Edinburgh
As a new year dawns, I simply cannot understand why the cost of the FM and her ministers’ use of limousines is being kept a state secret. In Pyongyang such secrecy would be par for course; in fact anyone daring to ask these kind of things about the country’s leader would be deemed highly suspect. The subterfuge to prevent the people knowing where their taxes are going in Scotland is pathetic.
Do we really need this in Scotland? Are legitimate questions now a no-no? Clearly, the powers that be must fear the answers that will be given. But why not just try being honest and transparent? After all, we, the people, pick up the tab.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh
Doom and gloom
John Swinney as acting Finance Minister made it very clear with his winter budget that the SNP policy was to tax high earners more and to meet the increase to benefit payments planned.
This sends out a message to everyone in the UK that the SNP are anti-business making Scotland unattractive to high earners and businesses alike.
This combined with the SNP/Green policy on stopping all oil and gas development in the future paints a gloomy picture of hard recession and poverty in Scotland for many years to come.
Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen
The UK wind industry boasts that windy weather at the end of 2022 helped set new records for wind generation.
They are silent when the wind does not blow and fossil fuels, nuclear and nuclear from France are needed to keep the lights on.
The website grid.iamkate shows that over the last 12 months wind only provided 28.9 per cent of UK electricity whereas gas provided 41.9 per cent and nuclear, much hated by the green lobby, 16.7 per cent.
There are lies, damned lies and wind statistics.
Clark Cross, Linlithgow
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