Page last updated at 19:53 GMT, Tuesday, 14 April 2009 20:53 UK

Labour attacks homecoming advert

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Scottish actor Sean Connery features in the advert

The Scottish Government has been criticised over the cost of a Homecoming advert promoting Scotland.

Tourism Minister Jim Mather disclosed that the advert, featuring famous Scots including Sir Sean Connery, cost a total of £559,287 to make and promote.

Labour claimed the advert had cost more per minute to produce than the blockbuster film Slumdog Millionaire.

The government disputed the Slumdog claim, saying the movie cost much more than Labour originally quoted.

Mr Mather disclosed the figures in an answer to a parliamentary question from Labour.

In a bizarre attempt to talk down the wonderful Year of Homecoming and badmouth an advert in which all stars gave their time for free, Mr MacDonald has got his facts all wrong
Jim Mather's spokesman

Apart from Sir Sean Connery, the advert also featured Olympic triple-gold medallist Chris Hoy, singers Lulu and Sandi Thom and actor Brian Cox, with each of the celebrities singing a line from from Dougie MacLean's song Caledonia.

Mr Mather revealed that although the artists did not receive a fee, a total of £1,550 was paid for their expenses.

The cost of production (including filming, production, producer/director fees) was £233,450 , with a further £299,287 for transmission costs.

An edited version of the advert to screen on the American PBS network cost £10,000, while music usage for a year added another £15,000.

Lewis Macdonald, Labour's tourism spokesman, made the claim that the advert had cost more per minute to produce than Slumdog Millionaire.

He originally said the movie, which won eight Oscars at this year's Academy Awards, had a budget of just over £3.3m but later amended that figure to just over £10m.

He said that meant the film cost about £80,000 a minute to produce.

"I am astonished that the SNP's Homecoming advert cost more per minute than a film that won eight Oscars," he said. "They'll certainly not be winning any prizes for getting value for public money."

Chris Hoy
Olympic triple-gold medallist Chris Hoy also featured in the advert

He challenged Mr Salmond to explain why the advert was so expensive.

"The SNP began by trying to remake Brigadoon with SNP supporters Sean Connery and Sandi Thom in the lead roles," he said.

"Now it turns out that they did so at prices which are more Hollywood than Holyrood."

Speaking before Mr Macdonald amended his figures, a spokesman for Mr Mather said: "This is another embarrassing blunder by Lewis MacDonald.

"In a bizarre attempt to talk down the wonderful Year of Homecoming and badmouth an advert in which all stars gave their time for free, Mr MacDonald has got his facts all wrong.

"As well as being wrong about Homecoming, Labour are even wrong about Slumdog Millionaire, the production of which was some five times the figure they claim.

"And the Homecoming ad figure also includes other costs, so they aren't even comparing like with like."

The spokesman added: "The bottom line is that the Year of Homecoming is set to deliver £40m extra in Scottish tourism revenue and 100,000 additional visitors, turning around a threatened downturn and giving our tourism industry a huge boost in a tough economic climate.

"The Labour Party need to decide whether or not they support this fantastic initiative for Scotland."



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SEE ALSO
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Homecoming 2009 events unveiled
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Funding for Homecoming Highland
24 Nov 08 |  Highlands and Islands

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