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.