Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie has asked the First Minister to explain why he rejected an offer from Lib Dem Scottish Secretary Michael Moore to use Dover House to promote Scotland during the Olympic Games.
The SNP government is spending £400,000 of taxpayers’ money to hire an exclusive club on London’s Pall Mall that has been dubbed ‘Scotland House’.
But it has emerged that the First Minister was offered use of Dover House free of charge to help promote Scotland to the world during London 2012.
A spokesman for the First Minister has been quoted as saying that “Dover House would not have been a suitable venue.” Mr Rennie would like to know why the First Minister thought it was more suitable to spend £25,000 a day rather than use one of the finest Government buildings in London.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:
“It’s a bit rich for Mr Salmond to complain about a lack of funds for schools and hospitals while spending almost half a million pounds on a plush London address during the Olympics.
“Spending the equivalent of a nurses annual salary every day on the exclusive Pall Mall address when Dover House was available free of charge is a colossal waste of money.
“An invitation was made to the Scottish Government to use Dover House to promote Scotland, something that both the UK and Scottish Government are keen to do during the Olympics.
“It is one of the government’s finest buildings and Michael Moore has already hosted receptions there this week to take advantage of its prime location to promote Scotland on the world stage.
“To say Dover House would not have been suitable simply makes no sense. It smacks of putting party politics ahead of taking advantage of the Olympics to benefit Scotland.
“The First Minister must explain why he refused the use of Dover House free of charge and instead insisted on his own London property, no matter what the cost.”