Yousaf spends £70k on NY trip amid Budget cuts
Humza Yousaf’s budget-squeezed government spent almost £70,000 on him and ten staff for a trip to New York Climate Week, it has been revealed.
A document shows that the Scottish Government spent £32,948.95 on accommodation, £26,013.91 on travel to New York, £4,707.86 on subsistence & expenses and £6,263.98 on cars for 11 people including the FM for the trip between 17-21 September.
The costs work out at more than £6,300 a head, or nearly £1,300 per person per day.
The total cost of the trip accounted for almost a quarter of the £300,000 programme to support loss and damage work in Malawi which Mr Yousaf announced at the event.
Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson Willie Rennie said: “It seems absurd that the costs of the trip were equivalent to nearly a quarter of one of the international funds he went to announce. It suggests that this visit was always more about playing dress up diplomat than tackling the climate crisis.
“The costs of foreign trips need to be justified and in line with the expectations the public have about how their taxes are being used.
“While the First Minister jets around the globe, Scotland has missed its climate change targets once again, native species are going extinct and the amount of sewage dumped in our rivers has risen by almost a third last year. If you care about the state of our natural environment, it’s clear that it is time to kick out the SNP.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister attended events as part of New York Climate Week and the UN General Assembly as part of the Scottish Government’s commitment to being a good global citizen and making a constructive contribution to addressing global challenges.
“Travel is an essential part of official Government business. All travel costs are in accordance with travel and subsistence policies to ensure we deliver the best value for money possible for the Scottish taxpayer. The Scottish Government takes its responsibility to travel sustainably very seriously and aims to use sustainable forms of transport whenever possible.”
Any business flights taken by Scottish Government Ministers and employees are offset by a carbon levy. The levy is used to fund carbon reduction projects that compensate for the carbon emissions generated.