Travel expenses incurred by Scottish Government employees 2016-17: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/17/01206
Date received: 30 May 2017
Date responded: 29 June 2017

Information requested

The amount spent by Scottish Government employees in the past year on official travel, broken down by first class and non-first class travel.

We sought clarification of your request on 31 May and you confirmed on 1 June that the following information for the financial year 2016-17 was what you required.

  • Air – business class, premium economy and economy
  • Rail – first class and standard class


Civil servants travel for a range of reasons including ensuring that the people of Scotland are effectively represented and ensuring that Scotland's voice is heard on important issues. In many instances, travel is necessary to allow civil servants to attend Ministerial meetings, meetings with businesses and visits to the communities we serve.

Before arranging to travel on official business, civil servants are first required to consider if their journey is really necessary. If they conclude that they are unable to conduct their business by other means, such as video or teleconferencing, they are then required to travel in the most cost–effective and time-efficient method available.

When arranging travel, Scottish Government staff are strongly encouraged to use the Travel Management contract.

The total spend for financial year 2016-17 is £2,331,653.28 broken down as follows:

Air £ Rail £
Business Class 22,804.34 First Class 84,788.16
Premium Economy 5,847.54 Standard 1,138,984.49
Economy 1,079,228.57
TOTAL 1,107,880.63 1,223,772.65

Travel and Subsistence

Claims for air and rail journeys processed through the Travel and Subsistence system show costs for 2016-17 as follows:

  • Air - £19,119.18
  • Rail – First £2,076.52
  • Rail – Standard £99,405.04

With regards to the number of flights taken it is not possible to give a break down between Business, Premium Economy and Economy, in this instance the costs of locating, retrieving and providing the information requested would exceed the upper cost limit of £600 because such information is not held centrally. Under section 12 of FOISA public authorities are not required to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the costs of complying exceeds the upper cost limit, which is currently set at £600 by regulations made under section 12. However, you may wish to reduce the scope of your request by submitting a request to cover a shorter period of time, such as a particular three month period.

About FOI

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Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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