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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2005, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Executive staff numbers increase
Figures show an increase in Scottish Executive staff
The number of Scottish Executive staff has increased by 32% since 1999, despite pledges by ministers to cut the cost of the administration.

The latest figures showed the number of employees increased from 4,393 to 4,410 between 2004 and 2005.

The Scottish Conservatives criticised the rise, describing the administration as Scotland's fastest growing industry.

The executive has argued that its work had increased considerably since the advent of the Scottish Parliament.

Last year the executive outlined plans to save 745m a year by 2008, which involved cutting 800 public sector jobs.

April 1999: 3,336
Feb 2003: 4,272
April 2004: 4,393
April 2005: 4,410

First Minister Jack McConnell said at the time that the cuts would go further than those announced earlier by the UK Chancellor Gordon Brown.

However Scottish Conservative MSP, Ted Brocklebank said figures, which were released in written answers by the executive, showed government in Scotland was continuing to get bigger:

He said: "These figures merely reflect the big government approach of Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

'Remained static'

"Their first instinct is to legislate, regulate and interfere at every opportunity.

"No wonder our economy lags behind the rest of the UK when government itself is the biggest business of them all."

The figures also showed the number of executive media staff had tripled since 1997 increasing from 30 to 91.

1999/00: 398,062
2000/01: 560,843
2001/02: 676,895
2002/03: 602,449
2003/04: 596,555
2004/05: 704,790

Salaries, National Insurance and pension costs for special advisers rose by 77% to 704,790 in 2004/05.

A spokesman for the executive said the current staff compliment was less than in 1993, when the figure stood at 4,700.

He added: "The number of press officers is not 90. It has remained static at around 44 for the past four years.

"The figures used by the Conservatives refer to all communication staff including the web team, marketing staff and temporary staff seconded from agencies to work on paid for campaigns."

The spokesman added that the executive had not taken up its full quota of special advisers and that the cost increase from 596,555 in 2003-04 to the current level was partly down to recommendations made by the senior salary review board.

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