The total government spend on speechwriters for the last five financial years: FOI release

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

Information requested

Information about the total government spend on speechwriters for the last five financial years. You also asked for information broken down by whether these writers are Scottish Government employees or contractors and the split of the spend on these, and specified that "if they are employees please provide details of their salaries and which members of government they are assigned to".


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have all of the information you have requested. I am unable to provide you with a figure for the total number of staff who write speeches, or for the staff costs involved in speechwriting.

The reason for this is that most speeches for Scottish Government ministers are written by policy officials, who draft speaking notes as well as carrying out a wide range of other responsibilities. In line with usual practice, details of individual tasks carried out by civil servants, including the number of hours spent on them, are not routinely recorded because there is no business need to do this. This is therefore a formal notice under Section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

However I can confirm that in the last five financial years, there have been two posts in the Scottish Government, which are primarily dedicated to speechwriting. These speechwriters mainly write for the First Minister, but they have also provided speaking notes for the Deputy First Minister, and the Cabinet Secretary for Health. They also on occasion help to train policy officials about speechwriting. One post is currently graded at C2 level, and the other is currently graded at B3 level. Information on current pay grades in the Scottish Government was released earlier in the year, and can be found here: Pay grades within Scottish Government: FOI release - (

The Scottish Government also spent £8,000 during the 2021-22 financial year on external speechwriting services, as a result of the high volume of ministerial speeches and remarks during COP26. It did not spend anything on external speechwriting services during the other four financial years covered by your request.

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Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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