The Herald has a fascinating report on just how Taxpayer’s money is wasted in the name of Scottish Vanity and keeping Scotland fat and happy:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was called upon today to scrap the Scotland Office after it was branded the “most pointless department in Whitehall”.

Through a series of ministerial answers, the Liberal Democrats discovered that each of the Scotland Office’s 20 policy officers dealt with the equivalent of only two letters each from MPs and peers in the past year.

The amount of parliamentary correspondence handled totalled just 39, which was even lower than the 51 the Pesticide Planning Directorate dealt with and the 68 the Rural Development Service received over the same period, said the Lib Dems.

Despite its extremely low level of parliamentary correspondence, the department still managed to spend almost £18,000 on stationery.

In a written parliamentary answer David Cairns, the Scotland Office Minister, explained that ministerial correspondence was “processed by two clerical officers, who also undertake wider administrative functions. Drafting ministerial replies is part of the role of a pool of around 20 policy officials in addition to their other duties”.

The Lib Dems also discovered through ministerial answers that the departments press office managed to write an average of one press release per week during the past year. As of March, the Scotland Office had two press officers.

The party also highlighted how the department increased its spending on hospitality by 32%, spending over £23,000 in the past year; almost twice the amount spent by the Wales Office.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrats’ Scottish spokesman, who received the ministerial replies, said: “As tensions between Westminster and Holyrood grow, the Scotland Office appears to be more concerned with hosting soirées than communicating with Edinburgh. Employing twenty staff to write an average of two official letters each year is indefensible. “The Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Offices should merge to create a Department for Nations and Regions, with a full time seat at the Cabinet table,” insisted the MP for Orkney and Shetland.”

I would go further. There is no real need for a Ministry of The Nations at all: on this basis they might get around to answering 200 letters all told. The real business is done in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and having a full-blown ministry to duplicate the work of the various assemblies is simply a gross waste of money. Give the job to “Four Hats” Harman who seems to have lots of time on her hands.

One happy spin off for someone of doing this would be the liberation of Dover House, coveted by a wide range of Minicrats who fancy a bit of the good life.

Dover House, pictured above, is a Grade I listed mansion in Whitehall, London. It is on the western side of the street immediately south of Admiralty House. The rear facade faces Horse Guards Parade. It was designed by James Paine for Sir Matthew Featherstonehaugh Bart. MP, in the 1750s and remodelled by Henry Holland for Frederick, Duke of York from 1788 to 1792. It has also been home to a French ambassador and the romantic poet Lord Byron. Its most notable feature is an entrance hall in the form of a rotunda inserted into the former forecourt by Holland, which is a unique approach to a London mansion.

The building belonged to the Melbourne family from 1793 to 1830. The last private owners were the Dover family, whose name it has retained. They owned it from 1830 to 1885, when it became the Scottish Office. When Scotland acquired a devolved Parliament in 1999, Dover House continued as the home of the reformed Scotland Office.

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