£45k cost of Alex Salmond food and drink bill

Then First Minister Alex Salmond and  Nicola Sturgeon during the Scottish independence campaign. Picture: Robert Perry
Then First Minister Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon during the Scottish independence campaign. Picture: Robert Perry
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ALEX Salmond spent £45,000 on food, drink, and catering at receptions and almost £3,000 on hotels in his final two months as First Minister, documents released under freedom of information laws showed.

Five of the six receptions that Salmond hosted were at Edinburgh and Stirling castles during his final weeks in office in the aftermath of the indep­endence referendum defeat.

Salmond’s expenditure included more than £30,000 to cover the cost of two receptions at Stirling Castle to celebrate Scotland hosting the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

There was £15,364.20 and £16,038.83 spent on each of the two Ryder Cup receptions within a week of each other in November last year.

Costs of holding the receptions included hospitality, food, beverages and catering services, the Scottish Government figures showed.

A total of £4,244.40 was spent on a reception at Edinburgh Castle in October last year to host the Brave@Heart awards winners, which celebrate acts of bravery by staff of the blue-light services, voluntary sector rescue organisations and members of the public nominated by these bodies.

Salmond also used Stirling Castle again to host the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisers at a cost of £3,340.20 to the public purse in November, 2014.

Edinburgh Castle was also the venue for the Young Scot awards reception when £4,104 was spent.

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: “During his time as First Minister Alex Salmond managed to give the impression that he was ruling Scotland like a medieval monarch.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Engagements and events are an essential part of official Government business. These important events support charities and good causes, promote Scottish business and the economy, and pursue and support the development and discussion of key Scottish policies.

“We enforce a consistent policy regarding hospitality, which ensures that all hospitality is appropriate and considers value for money at all times.”