Humza Yousaf has ordered a review of Scottish Government bank card spending by civil servants.
The First Minister made the announcement after it emerged that over £14m of taxpayers’ cash was spent on credit card transactions by Scottish civil servants in a three-year period, including almost £10,000 on VIP airport upgrades.
Among the “away days” for civil servants paid for on the cards were bowling, pottery lessons and yoga classes.
Yousaf said it was “fair to ask the questions’ and has asked officials to review the spending.
Senior government staff are issued with credit-style cards to purchase goods and services with a value of £5,000 per transaction.
During an Edinburgh Fringe event with comedian Matt Forde, Yousaf was asked about the procurement card spending, the Daily Record newspaper report.
He said: “It’s fair to ask the questions that people are asking about. Was this item spent? Why was it spent? Why was it bought by the civil service?
“I will ask the permanent secretary to just review, ‘do we have the right procedures in place when it comes to spend’.”
The first minister added: “I noticed one of the headlines around security through airports and so on and so forth, which again is fair for people to ask a question.
“We absolutely have to be mindful of every penny and every pound that we spend, but we’ve also got to be mindful of people’s security.”
The figures, obtained by Scottish Labour, show a total of £32,995 was spent between September 2019 and August last year in aid of away days, or team building events.
A total of £9,898 was spent on the former first minister’s airport services, both in the UK and across Europe, between September 2019 and June last year which included VIP fast-track through security.
It also included a payment of £4,182 on 8 September 2019 for hospitality and hotel accommodation at the five-star Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire.
The Scottish government said it proactively publishes information about spending to improve openness and transparency – and the review was to provide “additional assurance”.