Dundee MSP Shona Robison has criticised intrusion after she came under fire for a three-day break at a luxury ski resort over Christmas.
The deputy first minister was branded “shameless” after it was revealed she had holidayed at the Heliopic Hotel and Spa in the French Alps.
Rooms at the resort – said to be a favourite of celebrities such as Kylie Minogue and George Clooney – can cost up to £520 a night, according to reports.
The getaway came days after Ms Robison unveiled the Scottish Government’s spending plans, which included cuts to the affordable housing budget and tax rises for the highest earners.
Dundee MSP accused of ‘living it up’
Scottish Conservative MSP Annie Wells said Ms Robison “living it up” at the elite resort would “stick in the craw of Scots clobbered by her devastating budget”.
At the time, she said: “While politicians, like everyone else, are entitled to a holiday, it’s tone deaf of the finance secretary to jet off on a luxury break just days after hiking taxes on hard-working Scots and imposing eye-watering cuts on key public services.”
But the SNP MSP has now defended the trip, saying she took the opportunity to spend time with her daughter.
Speaking to Holyrood magazine, the Dundee SNP MSP said: “I don’t get much time with my daughter, and I went on a short, three-night break that I got a very good last-minute deal on.
“I decided that given I had hardly seen much of my daughter, due to the business of the budget and other government business…we had a very short family break.
“If we’re going to start analysing where each of us goes on holiday, I think that’s a poor place [to be].
“If that’s now up for grabs as a way of attacking each other, I don’t think that does the body politic much good at all.
“We all make our own decisions about where we spend time with our family, and I did that in my own time with my own money. It shouldn’t be the subject of intrusion, but it is what it is.”
Ms Robison juggles her deputy first minister role with that of finance secretary in Humza Yousaf’s administration.
Budgets squeezed, MSP pay increases
The MSP spoke as councils continue to make public pleas for more money.
In Holyrood, local authority body Cosla said the £144 million offered as part of a surprise council tax freeze policy comes nowhere near what councils need to deliver services.
Meanwhile, MSP salaries for 2024-25 will increase by 6.7%, a Holyrood committee has heard.
At a meeting of the Finance and Public Administration Committee on Tuesday, Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw – representing the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body – announced the move, which will see pay rise to £72,195 for representatives.
The increase will take effect on April 1 and follows an increase of 1.5% last year and 3.4% the year before.
SNP ministers have previously imposed a pay freeze on their additional government income since 2009. A spokesman said that continues to be under review but could not confirm today if it would apply to future years.