THE level of Scottish Government funding spent on consultancy costs has been driven down dramatically since 2009.

A recently published FoI makes clear that spending on consultants by the Scottish Government has fallen from £14,048 in 2009/10 to £3747 in 2011/12 – a reduction of 78%.

The cut comes as part of efforts to reduce central Government costs so that resources can be targeted at frontline services.

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SNP MSP James Dornan, who sits on the Public Audit Committee, said: "At a time when budgets are under pressure, it is only right that the Scottish Government does everything it can to save money.

"The fact that consultancy spending has been driven down by 78% shows that the SNP Government has its priorities right.

"By keeping backroom costs down, we are helping to ensure that policies such as free care for the elderly, no tuition fees and the older person's bus pass remain affordable.

"While the Scottish Government is doing everything it can to squeeze the most value out of every penny of public spending, Scotland would be in a far stronger position with control of the economic levers needed to grow our economy."