Nicola Sturgeon under fire as SNP 'wastes' thousands on Christmas card greeting

The First Minister spent nearly £4,000 of public money on the design for her 2021 card, Government data has revealed. The news comes at a time when the cost of living is on the rise, putting pressure on UK household spending.

The First Minister sends hundreds of cards to politicians and diplomats each year.

The 2021 design for her seasonal missive was created by artist Emily Hogarth, and featured a collage of Scottish landmarks and symbols.

The red and white illustration shows the Finnieston Crane and SEC Armadillo venue in Glasgow, as well as the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, along with thistles and a Charles Rennie Mackintosh-style rose.

It also features the First Minister’s official residence, Bute House, in the Scottish capital.

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“It appears that Christmas cards are just another example of wasteful spending by this SNP Government.”

In response, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The First Minister sends Christmas cards to a number of individuals, organisations, foreign leaders and dignitaries each year – on behalf of the Scottish Government – as a courtesy and symbol of friendship.

“After another difficult year living through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to continue to celebrate these links.”

When the card was first announced, Ms Sturgeon heaped praise on the design.

She said she was “thrilled to have such a striking design for my Christmas card this year.

“Emily Hogarth’s artwork celebrates just a few of the things that make Scotland special, and there’s no better time of year to stop and reflect on the things that make our lives a little brighter.

“After another particularly difficult year living through the Covid-19 pandemic, I hope that this card will help to lift people’s spirits, spread some festive cheer and most importantly remind us all that better days are ahead.”

Ms Sturgeon previously faced fierce criticism for the devolved Government’s decision to effectively cancel large-scale events over the Christmas period, including Hogmanay celebrations, over Omicron fears.

She told Holyrood that Scottish ministers “judge these to be necessary to further slow the spread of the virus”, while England maintained lesser, Plan B measures.

Scottish business leaders hit out at the cancelling of Christmas plans, noting that it would further stymie revenue after two years of lockdowns and restrictions.

At the time, the Scottish Chamber of Commerce said businesses would see the announcement as like receiving “a lump of coal in their Christmas stocking”.

Additional reporting by Richard Percival

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