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Green ‘Bribes’ Costing Scottish Taxpayers £8 Million

TAXPAYERS have been hit with an £8million bill for a new raft of bizarre green projects, including a “real nappy project” and environmental tips for Scotland’s Nepalese ­community.

While thousands of families struggle through the worst recession in living memory, ministers have unveiled a package of grants for a new wave of eco-friendly projects worth millions of pounds.

Public money will be used to pay for schemes including £84,000 worth of “eco drama productions”, £50,000 to provide energy-saving tips to ­Hindus in Edinburgh and more than £80,000 for a scheme to encourage people in the East End of Glasgow to grow their own vegetables.

The latest raft of grants means the Scottish Government spending £34million since 2008 – around £23,000 a day – providing funding for 130 “foolish” projects.

Documents have revealed that £70,000 worth of taxpayers’ cash will be used to fund the Highland Real Nappy Project, while £15,500 will be used to provide green tips to the Nepalese community via a grant to the Nepal Scotland Association.

It comes just months after it emerged that since 2008, ministers have authorised tens of millions of pounds’ worth of grants to climate change initiatives such as “therapeutic gardening” groups and “Eco-congregation co-ordinators”.

Yesterday Dr Benny Peiser, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think-tank concerned about the costs of fashionable green policies, said: “If it wasn’t that much money it might be amusing.

“But it is a complete and utter waste, it has no effect whatsoever either on the energy nor on the climate – it’s a bribe to cajole these groups into ­supporting the Scottish Government.”

And Emma Boon, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “The Scottish Government needs to stop ploughing money into foolish projects, under a green guise.

“Taxpayers will wonder whether some of these projects would have got funding if the focus was on results coming out rather than how much money was being put in.”

The £8.1million sum was doled out under the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, which had already been used to bankroll more than 300 green projects across the country at a cost of £26million.

Roseanna Cunningham of the SNP defended the spending.

She said: “The Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) continues to inspire communities all over Scotland and underlines the nationwide commitment to reduce our carbon footprint and meet our carbon reduction targets.”

The Express, 8 April 2011