Nicola Sturgeon’s aides charged taxpayers for coffee machines and iPad cover

Nicola Sturgeon: 'No cause for concern' about SNP finances in March 2021

Nicola Sturgeon’s aides charged Scottish taxpayers thousands of pounds on coffee machines for her office, a cover for her iPad and gatherings, documents reveal. 

This comes days after figures from late 2019 until 2022 showed £14.2million of taxpayers’ money had been spent by Scottish civil servants in three years, including around £10,000 on luxury VIP travel services.

Scottish Labour obtained a full breakdown of all transactions between September 2019 and August 2022. 

The details of leaked credit card spending reveal staff working for Ms Sturgeon bought two coffee machines in 2020 for her office, with one costing £115 and another bought two months later for £60, according to the Daily Mail. 

Staff also spent around £700 on coffee in just a year and almost £50 for a cover for the then-First Minister’s iPad tablet. 

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The Government paid out almost £700 for a ‘private dinner’ as well as £986 for ‘hospitality’ at the two-day Council of Economic Advisers meeting in March 2020. 

The 58,000 transactions on the taxpayer-funded cards also included the purchase of Edinburgh Festival tickets, yoga classes, nail polish, sun tan lotion and more. 

While the majority of the £14.2million were spent on day-to-day activities or home working equipment during the pandemic, other purchases had been criticised for being unnecessary. 

Appearing in Iain Dale’s All Talk show at the Edinburgh Fringe, Ms Sturgeon said first ministers need to have “the ability to travel through an airport quickly and securely”.

She added: “I don’t know if that is an outrage, make up your own mind.”

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On spending on airport services, she said: “I think I saw £10,000 over a couple of years. That’s probably less than one private jet flight for Rishi Sunak.”

Ms Sturgeon added that “being careful with public money, taxpayers’ pounds and pennies, of course that is important”.

An SNP spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is committed to delivering the best value for money for taxpayers and proactively publishes information about spending to improve openness and transparency.

“Spending through electronic purchasing cards is used to support government officials during their usual course of work such as on training, catering, room hire and one-off supplies. The cards are not for personal expenditure and there are robust authorisation and regular auditing arrangements are in place to monitor their use.”

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