Opening answer to Scottish Goverment’s deployment of staff on case for independence

For Argyll has a Freedom of Information request in train with the Scottish Government, asking for information relating to the specifics of numbers, time and costs of the deployment of civil servants to working up aspects of the case for and the preparation for putative Scottish independence.

We are also asking for information in relation to the employment of external experts on a contract basis, to carry out specific responsibilities in aspects of preparing the case for and the implementation of putative Scottish independence.

We have also put the same FoI to the UK Government, to assess the diversion of public resources to the case for the Union.

We have asked specifically for:

  • the overall number of civil servants deployed to such work;
  • the numbers so deployed full time;
  • the numbers so deployed part time – with a note of the average hours ‘part time’ describes in this instance;
  • the numbers of civil servants so deployed from each hierarchical rank involved;
  • the salary spectrum applying to each of the ranks involved;
  • the anticipated expenses involved for staff in total in respect of each single work package;
  • the topics or titles of each of the assignments to which any are deployed;
  • the numbers deployed to each assignment;
  • the starting dates of each deployment to each assignment;
  • the number of external experts contracted to work on aspects of impact assessment of or countering putative Scottish independence;
  • the overall costs of such employments;
  • the costs of anticipated expenses involved in each piece of such contracted work;
  • the topics or titles of their separate contracted assignments.

We have also asked to have a note of which of these deployments are NOT paid for from the public purse; and, in each case where this may apply, what is the source of funding for their work?

The Scottish Government acknowledged the request five days later on 22 February. The UK Government acknowledge the request to them on 18th February, the day after it was lodged.

Today’s [5th March] edition of The Herald is carrying an article on a parliamentary question from Scottish Labour MSP, Richard Baker.

Mr Baker asked Deputy First Minister and Infrastructure Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon how many Scottish Government officials are working in her Infrastructure Investment Unit.

Infrastructure investment  is unarguably the department whose work is most critical for the growth of the Scottish economy, whether or not the country remains within the Union or becomes independent.

This is also the department supposed to be guiding the claimed multitude of ‘shovel ready’ projects for which the UK Government has granted substantial additional funding.

The answer to Mr Baker’s question was – four members of staff are working in the Infrastructure Investment Unit.

In comparison, the Defence Policy Unit has almost doubled that in the number of officials assigned to it – with seven.

Scotland has serious infrastructural needs NOW. This is an indiscriminate and wasteful relative deployment of senior staff. Moreover, Mr Baker’s question has not asked for the salary scales of those employed in the Infrastructure and Investment Unit.

When we get our FoI responses, there should be an indication of the scale and cost of the public resources deployed to both sides of the independence proposition.

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20 Responses to Opening answer to Scottish Goverment’s deployment of staff on case for independence

  1. Might I refer FA to the parable of the foolish virgins? The Scottish Government is preparing for Independence. You would be the first to criticise if Scotland was unready for freedom in 2016.

    Pity you didn’t ask how many civil servants are involved in preparations for the Bedroom Tax.

    By criticising the modest number of civil servants involved in preparing the way for Independence some uncharitable soul might even suggest you don’t want the people informed before they vote. surely not?

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  2. I wasn’t familiar with that particular parable, but I like it. It has a kind of double meaning in the context of Independence, don’t you think?

    All about keeping the oil for themselves and not sharing…how Christian.

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  3. I’m not in favour of Independence.

    But, and it’s a big but, I would be MIGHTLY pissed off if we ever got to independence and people stood around scratching their head saying ‘well what do you think we should we do now’.

    Allocating civil servants for scenario planning is sensible. And let’s face it they hadn’t done so ould narky Newsie would just be grumping about how unprepared we were….

    Have a nice day :)

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  4. I agree, Simon, but haven’t the SNP already had a fair number of years already to decide what policies they would introduce and how they would set about working with Westminster? My personal view is that the support they gained at the last election took them by surprise and now that they have launched into the indy campaign they find themselves having to focus on it rather than the economic difficulties in which we all find ourselves.

    Virgins – they truly are.

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    • Jings crivvens and help ma boab – we cannae dae that independence thingy – it looks and sounds a wee bit difficult
      WE just have to tack that on the end of

      “too poor, too wee, too stupid, too difficult”

      There you go, you can cringe away to yer hearts content now

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    • Planning ! –let’s leave it to the experts at Westminster and the MoD–THEY CAN’T EVEN WORK OUT how many soldiers they have and then move a Scots regiment to Belfast. They even lied to the people of Scotland as to the original number coming back from Germany.
      Also had to smile when the Shadow Defence Jim Murphy (Socialist? )buddy stated that WE needed trident for the next 50 years in case Saudia Arabia is threatened by Iran etc. BILLION’s (underestimate?)to be spent on a system we cannot use and the ordinary armed force personnel and local communities are the loser’s.
      Syria here we come

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      • You can’t confuse Jim skeletor Murphy (or anyone else from the LIEBOOR party) with the word socialist – they are mutually exclusive terms

        It’s like calling Baillie skinny and honest!!

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          • Indeed I do…………

            Obviously you don’t!

            For the hard of thunking

            “mutually exclusive – unable to be both true at the same time”
            From “the free dictionary (.com)”

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  5. Sam, “too poor, too wee, too stupid, too difficult”” – certainly not too difficult, we’re not that wee – but most of all we’re certainly not that stupid, to vote for the snp. :)

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    • Who is voting for the SNP?

      It’s a yes or no referendum – not an election.

      The election comes after independence, when we will be able to elect a government of our OWN choosing

      If you can’t understand that, then you are obviously in the “too stupid” camp

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    • Oh, a third choice? Are SNP on the ballot paper too?
      I was lead to believe the choices were, after removing a devo option as it was too complicated for us, just Yes or No.

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    • Simon, surely you aren’t confusing a vote for independence next year with a vote for the SNP?

      If there is a ‘NO’ vote next year you will almost certainly see the SNP in government again at Holyrood in 2016 as the only party representing Scotland’s corner against a by then thoroughly disinterested (in Scotland) Westminster.

      Best hope of a non-SNP government at Holyrood is independence.

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  6. “All about keeping the oil for themselves and not sharing…how Christian”

    Jamie, I’m atheist and would give the last money from my pocket to help anyone in genuine need which is why the matter of wishing the country you reside in to have control of the revenues from it’s resources for the betterment of it’s citizens should not get confused with lack of generosity of spirit, religion or no religion. It’s a matter of duty to the citizens of the country first and foremost, the rest of the UK will survive if it packs in the wars, ditches nuclear weapons etc.
    If as you suggest those who wish independence or support SNP do not act in a Christian way what about gay marrage? Is the SNP parties plans to allow it a Christian or un-Christian thing to do? How does this sit with most Christians? uncomfortably I would suggest. I have mixed feelings about this particular proposal, undecided for sure.
    While we talk of Christianity and the lack of it in our desire not to dish our oil to benefit neighbouring countries are you one who supports a unionist party ie Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrats? If so, isn’t it their policy to retain a very un-Christian nuclear deterrant? Unless that is you think God approves of it?

    Finally, you don’t honestly expect any independent country to share resources in these financially troubled times, especially as in our case we have handed the revenues over to Wasteminster for decades only to end up in the financial state we are in today, teetering on the brink of an unprecedented triple-dip recession thanks to the squandering and mismanagement of these funds. The UK economy is shot to pieces, well over a trillion of debt to service, just shocking having this huge bonus of an oil wealth which should have been there to draw upon. There can’t be many countries with black gold who’s economy is an utter basket case.
    I am confident Scotland could make far better use of oil revenues in setting up an oil fund which should have been done since it was first extracted from the north sea instead of propping up an extravagant spending, wreckless investing UK, a total lack of prudence.

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    • Indeed JnrTick – I didn’t realise that “chritianity” had the stranglehold on doing good deeds – All those @2000 other deities available must be fair jealous of that
      Shouting about something being “chritian” is hardly being positive. Witness the former cardinal O’Bigot and his lies and hypocrisy – I would take not being “christian” as a plaudit

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    • The oil debate comes across as a form of greed – maybe not personal greed, but maybe misguided assumption that we really could spend the money better. I’m not seeing any evidence that the Scottish Government control finances much better than the UK.

      This whole Independence debate is turning very petty – it’s beocming pretty clear that there are a large number of very bitter people (ironically, NOT the pro-Union people!) who do not like the results of democracy, and so are trying to engineer it to suit. Time will tell if the Scottish people will buy it, or see it as small minded tunnel vision dreaming.

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      • “. I’m not seeing any evidence that the Scottish Government control finances much better than the UK.”

        Are you blind? Swinney is operating inside a defined budget, he’s no control whatsoever over how much westminster alocates to him
        Yet he manages to balance the budget

        Remember he’s not allowed to borrow money either

        The current Scottish Government aren’t mortgageing themselves to the hilt via PFI/PP either

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