Alex Salmond spent nearly half a million pounds of taxpayers’ money on Ryder Cup trip

28th November, 2012 7:14 pm

A parliamentary question has revealed that Alex Salmond spent £468,580 – or nearly £100,00 per day – of Scottish government money on his recent visit to Chicago for the Ryder Cup.

The Telegraph reports:

The First Minister and his wife, Moira, are understood to have stayed at the five-star Peninsula Hotel in the city, popular with celebrities such as Jay-Z, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston…Unfortunately for the First Minister, who is an avid fan of the game, he was booed by the crowd as he delivered his speech at the official handover ceremony.

Sounds like money well spent…

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  • Spent nearly as much hiring the Army & Navy Club in London during the Olympics to try and pretend to visitors Scotland was a seperate country….

  • jaime taurosangastre candelas

    There must be something else involved: £100,000 a day is simply incredible for a politician and his wife. Even first class total luxury hotels including the “upper class” flights and limousines for two people cannot cost that. The cost must include his “entourage”, surely? But then you have to think, what are the “entourage” doing to justify their cost?

    Why on earth was Alex Salmond spending that much money for a golf trip? I sometimes wonder at the amount I spend each year going to 8-10 rugby internationals (nearly £3,000 including travel to a few hotels but as a private citizen, I only have to justify it to my wife). This is one for the Scottish electors to wonder upon.

    • MonkeyBot5000

      It’s probably “security”.

      Amazing how much you can charge for some shades and an earpiece.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Even so, it seems unlikely. Assuming even £15,000 for his flights, and hotel for 4 days (and I confess to thinking that very profligate), there is still £85,000 to account for. Is the First Minister of Scotland under such threat of physical attack in a friendly country that his security costs are £85,000?

        I once got “upgraded” in an American hotel, in San Diego where I gave a small little presentation in the wings of a big conference (the annual conference of the American Medical Association, more than 5,000 delegates). It was to a nice little flat instead of a hotel room, and I had a nice balcony with a view to the beach which was owned by the hotel, and there were some other benefits such as a golf course and a gym / spa. But it was not something I would define my life upon, and when I left (paying no bill: as a speaker it was all paid for), I asked the cost for a normal person. $800 a day.

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Even so, it seems unlikely. Assuming even £15,000 for his flights, and hotel for 4 days (and I confess to thinking that very profligate), there is still £85,000 daily to account for. Is the First Minister of Scotland under such threat of physical attack in a friendly country that his security costs are £85,000, each day?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Even so, it seems unlikely. Assuming even £15,000 for his flights, and hotel for 4 days (and I confess to thinking that very profligate), there is still £85,000 daily to account for. Is the First Minister of Scotland under such threat of physical attack in a friendly country that his security costs are £85,000, each day?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Even so, it seems unlikely. Assuming even £15,000 for his flights, and hotel for 4 days (and I confess to thinking that very profligate), there is still £85,000 daily to account for. Is the First Minister of Scotland under such threat of physical attack in a friendly country that his security costs are £85,000, each day?

      • jaime taurosangastre candelas

        Even so, it seems unlikely. Assuming even £15,000 for his flights, and hotel for 4 days (and I confess to thinking that very profligate), there is still £85,000 daily to account for. Is the First Minister of Scotland under such threat of physical attack in a friendly country that his security costs are £85,000, each day?

    • “They were accompanied by a dozen Scottish Government civil servants and 22 officials from Visit Scotland, the national tourism agency, and Scottish Development International, an economic quango.”

  • franwhi

    Its an investment in Scotland which is the home of golf and host of the next Ryder Cup tournament. Money well spent for a projected £10 million investment and a lot cheaper than the billions spent on the London Olympics which had little economic spin off for Scotland.
    Salmond was there in his capacity as first minister and one of a team of Scottish Govt delegates so the cost is for his team – not himself. Being an avid fan of the game was not the criteria for selection for the visit.

  • rekrab

    The stand, costing £83,165, was located just yards from the first tee of the tournament course, offering an unprecedented opportunity to showcase Scotland to the international golfing public – and attracted thousands of visitors.

    Other costs included £80,263.71 for accommodation, £8,125.25 for logistics, £202,600.14 for programme delivery, £20,056 for marketing and branding, £20,178.36 for office costs and £54,192.36 for flights. Does seem an enormous amount however it’s projected that the Gleneagles ryder cup 2014 could bring in £100 million for Scotland.

    • John Ruddy

      The Welsh Government spent roughly the same – on attending THREE Ryder Cups. Why does it cost Scotland 3 times as much as Wales?

      And why did Salmond need to attend? President Obama didnt come to Celtic Manor to “represent the USA”….

      • rekrab

        John, have a re-read?
        Cameron spent 12 million trying to bring the world cup to London, Why ignore that?

        • This wasnt about bringing the Ryder Cup to Scotland. I compared like with like. You did not.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            You are correct. The only metric is what proportion of the projected £100 million would come to Scotland anyway even if the First Minister and what sounds like a very large holiday party had stayed away from Chicago, and against that, is the nearly £0.5 million a good investment?

          • rekrab

            But the angle of the pitch on the first tee was to promote Scotland and help the targeted turn out for Gleneagles 2014 to reach the 250,000 visiting spectators. Some may say that to accumulate you must speculate.

            Sport in general is bigger than one event however most events try and cash in and on that note how much did Lord Coe spend while hot -scotching around the globe promoting the London Olympics?

  • If that is true it is disgusting of Salmond.

  • Chrisso

    You’d think from this ‘story’ that Salmond charged £100k each day just for himself to stay in Chicago in September. Nope. Team Scotland’s Gleneagles 2014 campaign included 50 people or more. It was not clear that this would have happened without Salmond’s presence given the Ryder Cup is one of the world’s most watched sporting events alongside the Olympics and football World Cup. He and his Sports Minister led the delegation to Chicago. They were accompanied by a dozen Scottish Government civil servants and 22 officials from Visit Scotland, the national tourism agency, and also Scottish Development International, an economic quango. As First Minister he also delivered a speech to business leaders, met the Chicago mayor and held talks with companies who had decided to expand their operations in Scotland. The visit could help the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles generate £100 million for the Scottish economy. Yes, it’s another Tory Telegraph non-story.

  • Dalry_Road

    This website provides a different angle.

    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/6336-first-minister-ryder-cup-

    trip-criticised-by-opposition-parties

    A spokesman for the First Minister hit back by accusing Labour MSP, Ms Ferguson of “breathtaking hypocrisy”.

    He added: “They spent more than this on Tartan Day trips to the United States during each one of their last three years in office.” … It emerged that in November 2004, when a Labour Minister, Patricia Ferguson travelled to Australia with two officials to attend the Commonwealth Youth Games and to support the London Olympic 2012 bid. … In 2006 when Labour were still in power, it emerged the cost to send MSPs to the celebrations in New York had rocketed to £700,000.

    Obviously Labour spent a lot more tax payers money…

  • rekrab

    An even bigger story in Scotland is the break away “Labour for Independence” group organising their troops to enter the debate.

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