Tax payers' money squandered on alternative therapies for Scottish Parliament staff

More than £146,000 of taxpayers' cash has been spent on alternative therapies, massage, sports and health activities for Scottish Parliament staff.

And today Holyrood bosses came under fire for their use of public money.

The scheme, designed to promote the health and wellbeing of parliament employees, was set up after negotiations over the annual pay deal for staff in 2003.

Figures released under freedom of information legislation show that, in 2005, 191 workers used the scheme for activities including fitness classes, counselling and slimming at a total cost of £33,214.

Last year, 206 staff used it at a cost of £40,634 and, this year, 199 staff have used the scheme, running up a bill for £37,418.

Holyrood staff leisure bill row (The Scotsman, 20 November 2008)