Glasgow City Council trips cost £41,000

POLITICIANS and officials from Scotland’s largest
local authority spent more than £41,000 of taxpayers’ money on overseas trips and hotel stays last year, new figures have revealed.

Glasgow City Council increased its spending on overseas travel from more than £28,000 in 2010-11 to £35,000 in 2011-12 while money spent on hotel
accommodation rose from £1,200 to almost £6,000, according to the figures
obtained by Scotland on Sunday under Freedom of Information legislation.

Council delegations flew to a number of overseas destinations, including 
Tel Aviv, Cuba, New York, Chicago, Toronto and South Africa on official business during the last year.

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The international flights included a dozen airline tickets to Nuremberg for Glasgow’s former Lord Provost Bob Winter and an 11-strong delegation to 
attend an event billed as a “Burns Supper Scottish cultural showcase” at a cost of more than £2,000.

Around £900 was spent on flying Winter and two council representatives to Marseille so that they could attend the World Water Forum – an event described on the organisation’s website as promoting “competence and know-how in 
favour of water”.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, the convener of Holyrood’s economy committee, condemned the amounts spent and called on Glasgow council to cut back its overseas travel budget. He said: “It’s astonishing that Glasgow council can find the cash to fund overseas trips by councillors and officials, which should not be a 
priority at a time when frontline services are starved of cash.”

The taxpayer also covered the cost of nearly £8,000 for flights to Toronto, Chicago and New York for Winter and three council officials attending a trade mission during the annual Scotland Week in North America. Nearly £3,000 was spent on hotel stays in the US and Canada by the Glasgow council delegation at the start of 2011-12, the figures showed,

A Glasgow council spokes­man said overseas travel helped to promote the city culturally and as a travel destination.