Tavish Scott, Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland. Divorcee Married Kirsten Campbell BBC Political Journalist.
Deputy Minister for Finance, Public Services and Parliamentary Business between May 2003 and June 2005. Appointed Minister for Transport in the Scottish Cabinet on the 29th June 2005, holding the post until the 2007 election.
November 2006: Scandal. The Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance Scheme.
One of the biggest winners from the scheme appears to be Tavish Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, who is responsible for Scotland’s transport network. He is charging the public nearly £1000 a month in mortgage interest payments to help him buy a £380,000 house in Edinburgh. He has doubled the amount he bills the taxpayer for the property perk despite making a £36,000 profit last year on another flat bought with help from the public purse. And he previously claimed rent on a flat which at the time was owned by his sister.
The revelations are further blows for the widely discredited Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance. The parliamentary scheme allows MSPs to either claim mortgage interest payments on a property in the capital, or to rent, or to stay in a hotel. The allowance is also deeply unpopular because it has allowed several MSPs to make substantial profits on properties bought with the help of taxpayers’ money. One of the biggest winners from the scheme appears to be Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, who is responsible for Scotland’s transport network.
Land registry documents show that most MSPs have used the allowance to buy small flats in central Edinburgh costing between £80,000 and £100,000. But Scott has taken advantage of the generous system by purchasing a house last year in Morningside worth £380,000, on a mortgage of £265,000. Parliamentary records show he is now billing the public £979 a month in interest payments on his mortgage – the highest charge of any MSP. Scott is also entitled to claim the £1920 council tax on his new band-G house. An identical property for sale in the same street, inviting offers over £350,000, has three bedrooms, a “lovely private garden”, and a conservatory and patio.
The purchase of the house is only part of the Lib/Dem minister’s use of the accommodation allowance. The MSP bought his first property through the scheme in 2002, a £112,000 flat at Lower London Road sold to him by his sister. Figures show he claimed around £500 a month in mortgage payments for the property. He sold the flat last year for £148,000, pocketing £36,000 in profit. This allowed him to buy the much bigger property in Morningside. This purchase coincided with Scott’s changed personal circumstances. By 2005, he was separated from his wife and dating BBC journalist Kirsten Campbell.
The electoral roll shows a “Kirsten Campbell” is registered at the new property. The minister is now charging the public almost double the amount he charged for his previous flat, up from £500 to £979 a month. Scott has also left himself open to criticism regarding his rental arrangements prior to buying his first taxpayer-funded flat in 2002. That property was bought by Scott’s sister in 2000 – just months after her brother was elected to Holyrood – and sold to him two years later. However, council records show a Tavish H Scott was on the electoral roll for this flat in 2001.
The LibDem MSP was claiming rent for staying in his sister’s property. Scott, a business studies graduate, earns around £50,000 for representing Shetland, while ministers are entitled to a further £39,000. He has claimed more than £50,,000 in Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance payments since 1999. http://forum.caithness.org/archive/index.php/t-16987.html
Kirsten Campbell: BBC Scotland political correspondent. Girlfriend then wife of Tavish Scott Lib/Dem MSP and Minister.
May 2004: BBC Scotland was forced to defend its political coverage last night after a senior reporter revealed she was in a relationship with a Liberal Democrat minister, but was to carry on in her current role. Kirsten Campbell, BBC Scotland’s political correspondent, and Tavish Scott, deputy finance minister, yesterday announced they had been romantically involved for around six weeks.The couple are understood to have made the declaration amid mounting speculation.
Scott, MSP for Shetland, is separated but not divorced from his wife of 14 years, with whom he has three children. He said, “Given media interest in my separation last year, I have decided to avoid any speculation by confirming that I am in a relationship with Kirsten Campbell and have been since last month.” He refused to give further details or say if an engagement was being planned. Ms Campbell, added, “It’s early days. I consider myself lucky to have found such a wonderful man.” She said she told her employers of the relationship around two weeks ago to ensure there was, “no question of any impact on my integrity or credibility, or the BBC’s integrity or credibility”. She added, “If this relationship becomes serious then I will have to move out of political coverage.”
December 10 2010: Kirsten Campbell, BBC Scotland political correspondent and wife of Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott was lead reporter on last week’s BBC presentation “Scotland at a standstill” story which covered the totally unexpected extreme weather that hit Scotland overnight.
She reported that – Scottish Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson had apologised and resigned over his handling of the chaos brought on by the unexpected extreme winter weather.
The resignation of Stewart Stevenson, Minister of Transport had been self-inflicted but was ultimately unnecessary. He was not forced to resign because of the bad weather. He was not even forced to resign because of the councils’ handling of the bad weather. He was forced out of his job because of his initial reaction to last week’s snowfalls. With hundreds of people trapped in their cars overnight, Mr Stevenson went on the BBC the following morning and tried to brazen it out. The Scottish Government’s response had been first class, he said and then he went on to blame any failures on others for not being more accurate with the forecasts. It was entirely the wrong approach and despite his later apology, the mood among the opposition, some sections of the media and a small number of furious motorists had, by this time, swung against him. They demanded a culprit and, as a result, Mr Stevenson was forced from his job.
Quality newspapers however, printed pieces on the poor forecasts. Several respected commentators aired the view that there was little Stevenson could have done. Newspaper letter columns called for personal responsibility. “I’m all for bashing the Nats,” said one writer in The Scotsman, “but surely this comes down to common sense. Everybody could see for themselves what the conditions were like.” Significantly, the BBC continued with it’s rabid approach, the corporation was determined to set the agenda, and it succeeded when the tabloids later followed its lead and pilloried Stevenson. There was no exploration by BBC Scotland of the many different agencies involved in keeping Scotland running (or not), such as the quango Transport Scotland, councils, the police, and private road maintenance companies.
BBC Scotland point blank refused to engage with any arguments other than political cock-up. BBC Scotland repeatedly played a single interview with one frustrated driver demanding – after some prompting by the BBC interviewer – “the transport minister should take the blame”. In doing so the BBC angled the story in the way a newspaper editor might run a campaign, going for the jugular.
But newspapers are not regulated by a charter committing them to editorial values such as “no significant strand of thought is knowingly unrepresented”. Thursday night’s Newsnight went so far as to use the M8 blockages as a metaphor for the failure of devolution itself. By Sunday the thaw had come and Stevenson had gone. But BBC Scotland continued to re-run the Monday night Newsnight, on the Politics Show Scottish opt-out. They twice replayed the clip of Stevenson’s now infamous interview. The very familiar angry motorist also got another outing, along with the selective use of weather forecasts. It was tabloid television and about as useful to the public as a jack-knifed lorry. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11976328