Cost of First Minister's Christmas card and staff members working on independence referendum: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

  1. How much of taxpayers' money was used to print the FM’s Christmas card this year?
  2. How much of taxpayers' money was spent on the 29 civil servants' wages that were working on the Independence Referendum and what they are being re employed to work on now?


  1. In 2022, the cost (including delivery) was £3513.08.
  2. We have interpreted your request as covering staffing in the Referendums (Scotland) Bill team for financial year 2022-23. A previous FOI response  available at the link below, sets out the role of and total staff numbers and grades of staff in this team. Referendums Scotland Bill Team staffing details: FOI release - Due to the small size of the team, it is not possible to provide the total staff costs for the Referendums (Scotland) Bill team so far for financial year 2022-23 as there is a risk that individual salaries could be identified. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information. This is because it is personal data of a third party, specifically the job titles, salaries, and roles of individual staff, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.

You may find the following information helpful. Work on an independence referendum is distinct from work to develop a prospectus for independence. As a result, the work to produce a prospectus for an independent Scotland is being undertaken separately and is not being coordinated by the business area working on an independence referendum. Details of the business area coordinating the work on the prospectus can be found at Staff on Independence Prospectus: FOI release -

It is the role of the Civil Service to support the elected government of the day in developing and implementing its policies. That is the case for work on independence as it is for any other aspect of the government’s work. In line with its Programme for Government commitments, the Scottish Government will continue to publish its Building a New Scotland prospectus series. 

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

202200334524 - Annex A


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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