THE SCOTTISH Government spent more than £15,000 flying civil servants to New York for this year’s Tartan Week. 

According to figures released to The Herald under Freedom of Information legislation, five officials based in Scotland were in the Big Apple to take part in the annual celebration of all things Scots. 

Another five based in the Scottish Government’s US office also took part in events. 

The most expensive flights were for John Primrose, the Deputy Director, of the Scottish Government’s International Division. His travel cost £1,476 while his accommodation was £846.99

An unamed government spin doctor’s flight cost £921.41 while their accommodation came in at £935.55

Two policy officials also attended, with their flights costing £586.21 and £862.71 respectively.

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Despite being asked for the cost of Culture Secretary Angus Robertson's flights and accomodation, the Scottish Government declined to do so, saying it would be shared in the details of ministerial engagements, travel and gifts to be published within the next 12 weeks.

The Scottish Government said all those travelling flew in economy

Meanwhile, the UK Government’s Scotland Office also sent a minister and civil servants to New York.

However, they were unable to share details of the costs for John Lamont and his officials within the 20 working day timeframe required under Freedom of Information legislation, and have said they will need to take another 20 days. 

The Scottish Parliament dispatched Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone, Tory MSP Finlay Carson and the SNP MSP Collette Stevenson to the city that never sleeps. 

Their travel costs were £1182.50, £1314.72 and £1260.43 respectively. Their accommodation costs were cheaper than the Scottish Government’s all coming in at £648.36 for three nights.

Holyrood also sent two officials. Their flights cost £1165.30 and £1383.15. 

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A Scottish Government spokesperson defended the spend.

They said: “Travel is an essential part of official Government business and, clearly, Ministers continue to work on domestic responsibilities while promoting Scottish interests internationally - which is more vital than ever given the damage of Brexit to the Scottish economy and trade.

“International engagement enables Ministers to promote Scotland, build relationships and boost investment. As EY reported last year, Scotland continues to outperform the UK as a whole for foreign direct investment, driving the creation of new jobs and economic opportunities for local businesses.

“The Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs took part in a number of engagements whilst representing Scotland at the 25th anniversary of Tartan Week in New York, including a showcase promoting some of Scotland’s most innovative tech firms to leading North American venture capital investors, and meeting with a number of businesses with operations in the US and Scotland to support their continued engagement and investment in Scotland."