Derek Mackay spends almost £1000 on public speaking ‘refresher’ course

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay spent almost £1000 of taxpayers cash on a "refresher course" in public speaking, it has emerged.

The money went to Glasgow-based firm voicebusiness which boasts it can turn "nervous wrecks into skilled presenters."

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Mr Mackay was among a clutch of Scottish ministers who received refresher training in the past year. But none of the others, including social security minister Shirley-Anne Somerville and public health minister Joe Fitzpatrick, resulted in extra costs to the public purse.

Derek Mackay took a public speaking "refresher"Derek Mackay took a public speaking "refresher"
Derek Mackay took a public speaking "refresher"
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Mr Mackay's training cost £972.12, according to correspondence released through Freedom of Information.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: “Derek MacKay may have felt he needed to spend public money to change his oratorical style from dalek to Demosthenes.

“But it’s not speaking lessons he needed – it’s a course in how not to fleece hardworking people in Scotland.

“This money from the taxpayer may have helped him deliver the budget more eloquently.

“But its contents remain deeply troubling, and will have a real impact on family finances right across Scotland.”

On its website, voicebusinesss claims to specialise in public speaking and presentation skills, as well as pitching and networking skills.

It adds: "voicebusiness turns nervous wrecks into skilled presenters, polished public speakers, accomplished video presenters, effective networkers and excellent business communicators."

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “It would take more than a public speaking refresher course to help Derek Mackay hide his disdain for the SNP endorsed workplace parking tax.”

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In common with senior positions in other large organisations a range of training is made available to Ministers, including courses in media and public speaking skills.

“This training has an important role in supporting Ministers in their delivery of official government business. These courses are delivered in-house where possible.”