MSPs who were defeated or stood down at the last Holyrood election cost taxpayers more than £2.3million in golden goodbyes, the Scottish Parliament confirmed today.

The parliament’s annual accounts for 2021/22 revealed the 34 MSPs who stood down voluntarily and the nine who were rejected by voters cost £2,334,795.

The bulk of the money was automatically paid out in the form of “resettlement grants”, which are supposed to help former politicians adjust to life after Holyrood.

The scheme is the by far the best-paid of any UK parliament or assembly, roughly twice as generous to former members.

Among those getting a pay off was disgraced former finance secretary Derek Mackay, who was paid a resettlement grant of £53,725 for serving a decade as an MSP from 2011 to 2021, even though he never appeared at parliament for the last year.

Mr Mackay was also paid another £11,945 automatic grant for loss of ministerial office after he quit in 2020 for pestering a 16-year-old schoolboy with sleazy texts.

He was one of eight MSPs who served as ministers, presiding and deputy presiding officers who shared another £200,000 for loss of office under a separate scheme.

All 43 MSPs whose Holyrood career ended at the 2021 election were paid a grant of at least half their £64,470 salary, rising on a scale based on length of service to an extra year’s pay.

The first £30,000 of the lump sum, paid under a 2009 law, was tax free.

Also collecting a grant were former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson who got the same as Mr Mackay after 10 years as a MSP, despite moving onto a £323-a-day seat in the House of Lords and an £85,000-year job as a non-executive director of insurer Royal London.

Former SNP children’s minister Mark McDonald, who quit over a sleaze scandal in 2017, was due to get £42,980 for eight years continuous service.

All of Holyrood’s parties had MSPs who shared in the pay-outs.

Sixteen former SNP MSPs collected more than £920,000 between them, while 11 former Labour MSPs got £666,000, and ten former Tory MSPs shared £408,000.

Because he lost his seat in 2011, then returned in 2016, former Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles was entitled to a second grant of £32,235 after previously qualifying for £57,600.

After the 2016 election, the total bill for voluntary leavers and election losers was £2,106,691, while after 2011 it was £2,224,060.

The new parliamentary accounts state: “As specified by the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act (SPPA) 2009, Schedule 2 members salary costs included resettlement grant and associated employers national insurance of £2,334,795 for 43 members who either did not stand for reelection or were not returned. 

“Resettlement grant amounts range between 6 months to a full year of MSP salary equivalent depending on the length of continuous service. 

“Severance pay and associated ERNIC [earnings-related national insurance contributions] of £207,776 was payable for 8 former Ministers and the former Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officers. 

“Payments are made in line with the terms in the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act (SPPA) 2009.”

A parliament spokesperson added: “Resettlements grants are paid in accordance with the Scottish Parliamentary Pensions Act (2009).”