Scottish independence: £50,000 on monitoring media

Labour paid �29,756 to a media monitoring firm. Picture: Greg Macvean

Labour paid �29,756 to a media monitoring firm. Picture: Greg Macvean

Share this article
Have your say

POLITICAL parties spent more than £50,000 on media monitoring in the run-up to the independence referendum, new expenses data has revealed.

Labour paid £29,756 to a media monitoring firm in March while the SNP spends £1,488 a month for an online press cuttings service, expenses returns for the 18 months to September reveal.

Computer hardware was also a big-ticket item for some politicians in the first six months of 2014/15.

Labour MSP Margaret McCulloch claimed £1,399 for a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro from the Apple Store while SNP MSP David Stewart settled for a £319 Acer Aspire from a budget IT website.

SNP MSPs Stewart Maxwell and Stuart McMillan claimed £500 each for machines that fold paper, Labour’s Cara Hilton claimed £150 for a camera and Alison McInnes of the Lib Dems claimed £130 for a SatNav.

New Justice Secretary Michael Matheson spent £108 on a tabletop fridge while science and learning minister Alasdair Allan found one in Argos for £80.

Travelling on two wheels appears to be the transport of choice for South of Scotland MSPs, with Labour’s Claudia Beamish claiming 60p a time for her bicycle trip from her Edinburgh accommodation to Holyrood and Lib Dem Jim Hume claiming £30 for his motorcycle ride into work.


Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning

• You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google +

Island taxpayers face bills of about £470 per return trip to fly Liberal Democrat MSPs Liam McArthur (Orkney) and Tavish Scott (Shetland) to parliament.

Conservative MSPs appear to be the chattiest, with Mary Scanlon claiming £182 on her mobile bill in a single month, followed by Jamie McGrigor, who claimed £137, although Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie was not far behind with two £100-plus monthly mobile bills.

Politicians claim an average of £20 a plate for a hotel meals courtesy of the public purse.

SNP MSP Richard Lyle, who claimed just £1.80 last year for dinner from Holyrood’s local chippy, remains the Parliament’s budget diner with a series of hotel meals for under £5.

This contrasts with parliamentary business minister Joe Fitzpatrick, who is at the top of the dinner expenses menu claiming £142 for five hotel meals at an average cost of £28 a meal.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be grateful for her new Edinburgh city centre Bute House residence, having claimed £1,768 on Edinburgh hotels in the six months to September.

Labour MSP Alex Rowley paid £1,405 to fit out his constituency office, including the installation of a new oak counter while SNP MSP Willie Coffey claimed £919 for painting and decorating.


Scottish independence: Yes protest at BBC ‘bias’

Stephen Quinlan and Mark Shephard: Social media and the referendum

Independence debate has given Scottish media ‘renewed purpose’ says STV chief


• Download your free 30-day trial for our iPad, Android and Kindle apps

Keep up to date with all aspects of Scottish life with The Scotsman iPhone app, completely free to download and use

Back to the top of the page