Cost of Nicola Sturgeon’s trip to North America revealed
The cost of Nicola Sturgeon’s recent trade visit to North America to taxpayers has been revealed.
The First Minister’s five-day trip to the US and Canada last month cost £44,000.
In response to a freedom of information request, The Scottish Government said Ms Sturgeon’s flights cost £7098, including business class from to Washington DC and the return flight from Toronto and five nights in hotels another £950.
The First Minister’s seven support staff cost £21,025 in flights, £6644 in accommodation, and £3064 in subsistence.
All flights were economy class, except when Ms Sturgeon and her private secretary travelled business class on the two transatlantic legs.
Cars cost £3082 in the US for “standards SUVs” and £2144 in Canada for an SUV and a mini-bus.
The government would not name Ms Sturgeon’s hotels on security grounds.
Speaking before the trip, Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland has a longstanding relationship with North America across family, friendship, culture and business.
“The latest figures released show how important our trade relationship with North America is for our economy.
“This visit will build on the existing links between our countries and provide new opportunities for us to work together.”
Ms Sturgeon drew criticism from Scotland’s pro-Union political parties after telling a US broadcaster during her visit that the country will be independent from the UK within five years.
Scottish Tory chief whip Maurice Golden said: “Nicola Sturgeon took a full week away from government business to bang the drum for independence, and that’s completely unacceptable.”
The US remains Scotland’s top export destination country, with an estimated £5.5 billion of exports in 2017 – up by 11.1 per cent from the previous year.
Canada continues to be a top 20 export destination worth £580 million in 2017.