Revealed: The cost of Alex Salmond’s 38 hotel stays
ALEX Salmond spent some £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on hotel bills during overseas and domestic trips in the past two years, newly released figures have revealed.
Mr Salmond spent just under £5,000 a year on accommodation during official business in both 2010 and 2011, according to documents obtained by The Scotsman under freedom of information laws.
The First Minister spent more than £2,700 for five nights at hotels in China, when Mr Salmond spent time at the Westin hotels in Shanghai and Beijing during a Scottish Government trade mission in 2010.
There were also a series of hotels stays closer to home, including about £1,400 on seven nights at the Mint Hotel at the Tower of London last year, when the SNP leader was in the UK capital to meet coalition government ministers.
The First Minister, who has an official residence in Edinburgh, also spent more than £1,200 for the use of the Radisson Blu in Glasgow over four nights last year. His hotels bills included more than £1,000 for two nights at the Ritz-Carlton in the Qatari capital, Doha, during a visit to promote Scottish business opportunities last October.
More than £1,200 was spent on accommodation on three other nights at two hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi during the same trade mission.
The Scottish Government insisted that “in some cases the costs will also include the use of hotel facilities such as meeting rooms”, although it said that no breakdown was available.
Mr Salmond had a total of 38 hotel stays during 2010 and 2011, the government figures showed.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister works intensively to promote Scotland and its industries wherever he is working, and he does much of this at his official residence, Bute House, and elsewhere in the government estate. Ministers must sometimes travel outwith Scotland – whether to support Scottish businesses seeking new markets or to secure inward investment from international companies, or attend events supporting charities or good causes.
“As the information provided clearly shows, each engagement was conducted by the First Minister in such circumstances.”
However, Labour MSP Michael McMahon suggested that Mr Salmond’s spending on hotels was excessive and he called on the First Minister to limit the amounts.
He said: “The First Minister has racked up a bit of bill from his globetrotting exploits. While clearly the job is going to involve some travel, at home and abroad, Alex Salmond has a duty to minimise the expense to the taxpayer and there have to be questions whether this is the case.”
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