More than £1.2 million has been spent on public relations experts, consultants and managers for Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games in just two years, according to figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats.

Glasgow City Council has spent more than £700,000 and the Scottish Government fractionally under £500,000.

The cost of the games had already risen from £373m to around £450m. The government has agreed to pay 80% of the bill, leaving the rest to the council.

Loading article content

The original cost was calculated in 2006, but the recession has since cut the value of broadcasting rights which were to have been a major games fundraiser.

MSP Ross Finnie, the LibDems’ sports spokesman, said although the Games would be a spectacular event, a tight grip was needed on the budget.

“History tells us that the budgets for staging massive international sporting events will soar unless every aspect of expenditure is rigorously controlled.

“The Scottish Government has already been forced to dig deep and find and extra £80m. “That’s an awful lot of taxpayers’ money in these tough times.

“Blowing over £1.2m on consultants and PR in the first two years isn’t a good sign that ministers and councillors are focusing on the essentials and getting their spending priorities right.”

The new figures, obtained under Freedom of Information law, show that since November 2007, the Games Organising Committee spent just over £527,000 on technical advisers and a public relations consultancy.

Of this total, 80% came from the Government, and the rest from the council. Ministers also chipped in £12,000 for PR and £60,034 for “a human resources specialist to establish sound ­recruitment and personnel procedures”.

In addition, the council has spent an extra £436,000 of its own on eight managers within its 2014 Games team.

A spokesman for Glasgow 2014 said specialist consultants were a necessary part of staging the games, and paying them was more efficient than paying full-time staff.

“The Organising Committee has only around 20 full-time permanent staff at this stage so resources are being very carefully managed at every stage,” he said.

“Costs are absolutely under control.

“The budget increase announced last month reflects changed economic circumstances since the bid budget was fixed, rather than anything else.

“The Organising Committee is committed to running a tight ship in delivering an outstanding, athlete-centred and sport-focused Games that will leave a lasting legacy for Glasgow and Scotland.”

A Glasgow City Council ­spokesman said: “All of the spending on ­consultants was on specialists who advise on venues, the staging of Games and related issues. “They are required only for a short period which is why we employed them as consultants and not permanent employees.

“The seven permanent council staff involved will ensure that the venues are completed on time and ensure that the Games leave a lasting legacy for Glasgow and Scotland.”

A Government spokesperson added: “All the costs that have been incurred to date have been budgeted for and are necessary to ensure the preparations for the Games proceed as planned.

“The Scottish Government recognises the risks that exist around the staging of major events and is determined to ensure that these continue to be managed successfully.

“The Games budget is tightly managed and, with our partners, we will keep costs under control over the next five years and deliver a successful Games for Glasgow and Scotland.”