We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Permanent Secretary must rule on use of taxpayer funds on EU legal case

October 29, 2012 3:38 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP has called on the head of Scotland's Civil Service to explain if the decision to spend taxpayers' money to defend official legal advice which did not exist was an appropriate use of public funds.

This comes a week after the Deputy First Minister revealed that the Scottish Government had not sought official legal advice from Law Officers on the position of an independent Scotland within the European Union.

In a letter to Sir Peter, Mr Rennie refers to the Permanent Secretary's position as Principal Accountable Officer for the Scottish Government. The Principal Accounting Officer for the Scottish Administration is responsible for ensuring economical, effective and efficient use of public funds.

It is estimated that the cost incurred by the taxpayer for both the Scottish Government and the Scottish Information Commissioner's legal fees will be around £12,000.

Commenting on the letter, Mr Rennie said:

"Sir Peter needs to explain whether it was an appropriate use of public funds to defend in court legal advice that didn't exist.

"The SNP say their court battle with the Information Commissioner was about a point of principle. If that's the case why have they dropped the court case?

"It's clear that they went to court to avoid the embarrassing fact that they had no advice. It's an expensive way to avoid a red face for the First Minister. The Permanent Secretary should explain whether this was an appropriate use of taxpayers' money."