12 Dec 2012

Salmond's Golf Trip

Renfrewshire South MSP Hugh Henry yesterday joined the condemnation of Alex Salmond for spending almost half a million pounds on taking a delegation to the Ryder Cup golf tournament in America.

The Labour politician said the First Minister should stop wasting taxpayers’ money massaging his own ego.

Mr Henry hit out after the cost of the trip was revealed and said he was confident the people of Renfrewshire would much rather the money was spent closer to home.

He said: “I am sure, like me, the majority of people in Renfrewshire will be astonished by this figure. This comes at a time when newspapers are reporting unprecedented cuts in staffing levels in our hospitals. The money spent on taking a huge delegation to this event could have paid for 16 nurses for a year.

“The vulnerable and less well off here in Renfrewshire are suffering whingeing cuts from this Scottish Government and while many people in our communities are suffering financially the First Minister continues with his vanity projects.

“I am sure my constituents would rather the money had gone to boost the services we all rely on or to help those most in need.”

Mr Henry added: “This isn’t the only extravagance we have witnessed from Alex Salmond. This comes on top of the tens of thousands of pounds spent on his trip to the opening of Brave in California earlier this year.

“The First Minister is also reported to have spent £400,000 of taxpayers’ money on hiring out an exclusive gentlemen’s club in Pall Mall London to entertain dignitaries and businessmen during the Olympics.

“On top of that we have the excessive amount of taxpayers’ money being spent on preparation for the Referendum. This is costing all of us an arm and a leg.

“It is time Alex Salmond turned his attention to the ordinary people of Scotland and stopped massaging his own ego with these vanity projects. “

The Government say the expense of the trip to the Ryder Cup was money well spent as it was part of a plan to "maximise the economic benefits" of hosting the cup in Scotland in 2014 and will generate about £100m for the economy.