VisitScotland dips into red

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THE country’s tourism body is in debt after stumping up £2 million in pay-offs for staff.

The most notable costly departure from VisitScotland was former chief executive Philip Riddle, who was handed a £240,000 deal for leaving the organisation.

Its annual accounts stated the body was now £32,000 in the red.

The severance total was ten times that of last year’s pay-offs.

It is understood around 60 staff were offered deals to leave, and although Mr Riddle was asked to leave VisitScotland in the summer of 2010, it is only now the details have appeared in public.

Mary Scanlon, tourism spokeswoman for the Conservatives, said: “In these difficult times it does seem excessive to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in staff payouts.”