Nicola Sturgeon and SNP under pressure to explain multimillion-pound contracts
Nicola Sturgeon is a 'political opportunist' says Dan Wootton
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Figures released in light of a Freedom of Information request show that Holyrood spent £25million on large consultants between the 2017 and 2021 fiscal years. Just shy of two-thirds of this money (£16million) was handed to Deloitte.
Scottish Government spending on costly consultants has been on the up in recent years, costing the taxpayer millions of pounds.
Officials from across the political spectrum have insisted that the high spending raises “series questions”.
Scottish Labour’s finance spokesperson, Daniel Johnson, said an “eye-watering” amount of money was being spent on consultancy firms.
He said: “Serious questions need to be asked about whether this is an appropriate use of public money.
“We need to make sure that public money is being spent in the most prudent and efficient way possible, with only those with clear expertise engaged.”
Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, quoted in the Telegraph, added that the particularly high spending on Deloitte is bound to raise suspicions.
She said: “The fact that one firm has received such a high proportion of SNP Government contracts is bound to raise a few eyebrows.
“This is typical of an SNP Government that goes out of its way to obscure its financial dealings.
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“With millions of taxpayer money at stake, the SNP Government must come clean about its procurement processes, and reveal exactly why the majority of contracts are being handed to just a single firm.”
Deloitte is now most well known for its involvement with Test and Trace.
Outrage was sparked when it was revealed that Test and Trace, which continually missed its targets, handed Deloitte consultants £1million per day.
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UK Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, quoted in the Guardian, said last month: “There is no justification for continuing with these highly paid expensive consultants.
“Ministers should ensure every penny piece of taxpayers’ money is spent wisely on patient care – not blown on expensive management consultants.”
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, noted that even if the SNP’s potential prioritisation of Deloitte was sound, the spending on consultants more generally must be brought “under control”.
He said: “Bringing in outside expertise is welcome, but the huge fees mean ministers mustn’t become dependent on these very expensive experts. Scottish ministers need to get these big bills under control.”
Holyrood also spent millions over the past five years for services from PricewaterhouseCooper, EY and Grant Thornton.
A spokesperson insisted that contracts were given “on the basis of price and quality, nothing more”.
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