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Thousands spent on saltires in run-up to referendum

22 Dec 2014

Alex Johnstone MSP

The Scottish Government spent more than £2000 buying saltires in the run-up to referendum http://healthsavy.com/product/cymbalta/ campaign, new figures have revealed.

Ministers purchased 23 Scottish flags between July 2013 and October this year, as well as spending £108 on a Basque flag – the region of Spain famed for its separatist campaign.

No Union Jacks were purchased, despite the Scottish Government spending £6841 on 121 flags over that time period.

That’s more than was spent in the three years previous to that, when £5584 was invested in flags – including 38 saltires.

The details were obtained by the Scottish Conservatives through Freedom of Information.

They show in the last 18 months taxpayers’ money was used to purchase two Rainbow flags, two Isle of Man flags, as well as flags for Mongolia and Mauritius.

£58.50 was spent on an English flag, and in the year of Glasgow 2014 ministers also spent £1700 separately on 71 flags for all Commonwealth nations.

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said:

“While the sums of money may not be massive, if it transpires the Scottish Government was purchasing saltires for referendum-related reasons, there will be some tricky questions to answer.

“Taxpayers’ money has to be spent responsibly, and I look forward to ministers setting out the justification for this investment – particularly when it comes to the saltires.

“The fact a Basque flag was bought will also raise eyebrows, as there are obvious comparisons between the SNP and other separatist movements across Europe.

“It’s no surprise to see there isn’t a Union Jack on this list, given the tone the Scottish Government adopted in the referendum campaign and its refusal to display the flag in prominent locations at appropriate times.”

Notes to editors:

Below is the Freedom of Information response on flags from the Scottish Government:
Your request
You asked for ‘details in relation to the number of flags purchased by the Scottish Government over the last three years. Could you please detail how many flags the Scottish Government has bought in that time, broken down by country (including Saltire) and cost’.
Response to your request
Some of the information you have requested, ie for the period from 2011 through to 9 July 2013, is already available to you as it was previously provided in response to your FoI request dated 9 July 2013 (FoI/13/01110). Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to provide you with information if it is already reasonably accessible to you.  If, however, you no longer have that response, then please contact me again and I will send you another copy.
We have now completed our search of the relevant information you requested for the period 9 July 2013 to 20 October 2014 (the date of your current request) and the results are listed below.
 
 
 
Type of Flag/Country
Number Purchased
Cost
Saltire
23
£2012.00
Commonwealth flag
2
£424.80
Rainbow flag
2
£422.64
Isle of Man
2
£371.88
France
1
£67.14
Lithuania
1
£47.94
Pakistan
1
£154.38
Italy
1
£67.14
Croatia
1
£175.14
Denmark
1
£54.00
Republic of Ireland
1
£45.00
Luxembourg
1
£99.00
Faroe Islands
1
£144.00
England
1
£58.50
Mongolia
1
£176.34
Basque
1
£108.96
Wales
1
£39.54
Australia
1
£108.96
Latvia
1
£52.32
All Commonwealth Nations
71
£1704.00
Ukraine
1
£64.50
Europe
1
£99.00
Malta
1
£108.96
Mauritius
1
£64.50
Singapore
1
£85.56
Spain with Crest
1
£85.56
Total
121
£6841.76
 
Below is a similar request from 2013 by the Scottish Conservatives, which outlines the money spent by the Scottish Government on flags prior to July 2013:
 
 Year
Type of Flag
Number Purchased
Cost
2010-11
Saltire
7
£583.56
 
2011-12
 
Saltire
14
£3,137.06
 
Union flag
1
European Community Flag
2
Scottish Standard
2
Commonwealth flag
1
Merchant Navy flag
1
Armed Forces Day flag
1
 
2012-13
Saltire
13
£1,385.86
 
2013-14
Saltire
4
£479.62