Civil servants criticise cost of fluffy promotional events

Civil servants criticised a series of events aimed at raising Scotland's profile when it hosted the G8 conference two years ago as "a lot of money for fluffy promotional events".

E-mails obtained by Scotland on Sunday, show that while ministers claimed hosting the world leaders' summit at Gleneagles in 2005 was worth hundreds of millions of pounds to the Scottish economy, their officials balked at the costs.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation show that civil servants questioned the costs of some of the promotional events at the G8 summit in Perthshire in 2005.
In one exchange, which focused on the total cost of the events to the Scottish Executive Financial and Central Services Division, a civil servant wrote: "£811,000 sounds like a lot for fluffy promotional events. What did we get for the money?"

The reply which came was that the actual cost was even higher, at £950,000, which was described as being "even more money for fluffy promotional events".

The full media analysis, which was revealed in the Freedom of Information papers, gave details of the negative coverage of Scotland in the international press. Most of the coverage was neither positive nor negative, but simply mentioned Scotland and Gleneagles as the location of the summit. The Chinese were critical of haggis, while the French observed the summit was taking place "beneath the Scottish rain".

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: "This must be the most expensive lot of fluff in political history."

A Scottish Executive spokesman said: "These e-mails do not suggest the money in question was wasted."

G8 events slated by Scots civil servants (Scotland on Sunday, 22 July 2007)