Publication - FOI/EIR release

Cabinet Secretary for Finance Iceland trip: FOI release

Published: 18 Oct 2019

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

Published:
18 Oct 2019
Cabinet Secretary for Finance Iceland trip: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/02192
Date received: 19 Sep 2019
Date responded: 17 Oct 2019
Information requested

1. The reasoning behind Derek Mackay’s recent trip to Iceland on September 16th.
2. How many staff accompanied Derek Mackay on the recent trip to Iceland, and what positions they hold.
3. Details of how Derek Mackay and his staff travelled to Iceland.
4. Details of where Derek Mackay and his staff stayed in Iceland, how many rooms were booked and the cost of this.
5. The cost to the tax payer of Derek Mackay’s recent trip to Iceland broken down into an itemized list.
6. How far in advance this ministerial trip was planned.

Response

In response to point 1 of your request asking for the reasoning behind Mr Mackay’s recent trip to Iceland on 16th September 2019, the Cabinet Secretary visited Iceland to participate an Inclusive Growth and Wellbeing Symposium hosted by the Icelandic Government. Iceland are a founding member of the Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo), alongside Scotland and New Zealand. The goal of the symposium was to explore how to embed wellbeing and inclusive growth outcomes in economic policy.
Scotland and Iceland have long-standing historical and cultural ties and this event provided an opportunity to build on the two Governments on-going engagement relating to the Wellbeing Economy Governments initiative. The Prime Minister of Iceland visited Edinburgh in May 2019 to deliver a speech at the opening session of the WEGo group’s first economic policy lab and also met with the First Minister.
The symposium included participation from the Prime Minister of Iceland, the Finance Minister of Iceland, the OECD Secretary General, and a Climate Change expert. The Cabinet Secretary spoke about the Scottish Government’s approach to delivering Inclusive Growth and Wellbeing and the importance of the economy in this regard. He also participated in a Q&A with the other speakers which also included the Scottish Government Chief Economist.
The Cabinet Secretary also participated in a Ministerial bilateral with the Finance Minister of the Government of Iceland. They discussed the Scottish and Icelandic economies, budget processes and how they manage expenditure and revenue risks.
The Cabinet Secretary also visited the Bank of Iceland alongside the Scottish Government Chief Economist. They met with the Governor of the Bank and discussed recent developments in the macro-economic environment, the economic history of Iceland, and the bank’s operations and response following the financial crisis of 2008/09.
The Cabinet Secretary’s programme of activity in Iceland served to strengthen existing links with Iceland and the OECD and reinforce the Governments’ commitment to the Wellbeing Economy Governments initiative.

In response to point 2 of your request, 1 member of staff accompanied Mr Mackay to Iceland - Mr Mackay’s Private Secretary. The Chief Economist of the Scottish Government also took part in the visit.

In response to point 3 of your request, Mr Mackay and his member of staff travelled to Iceland on an Icelandair flight from Glasgow airport.

In response to point 4 of your request, Mr Mackay and his member of staff stayed at the Radisson Blu Saga. Two rooms were booked for two nights (15th and 16th Sept) at a cost of £578.
In response to point 4 of your request the costs of Mr Mackay’s recent trip to Iceland broken down into an itemized list were:

  • Travel Costs (flights) – £390.60
  • Travel Costs (taxis) – £102.97
  • Subsistence (2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner for Mr Mackay and 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner for his Private Secretary) – £114.27

In response to point 5 of your request, the invitation to the conference was received in February 2019.

About FOI

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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Edinburgh
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