[Pounds Sterling]2,000 Bill for Single Gaelic Holyrood Tour

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Howarth

THE Scottish parliament splashed out more than [pounds sterling]2,000 on a Gaelic translation of an audio guide for visitors - which has been used by only one person.

Non-English speakers who take the official tour of Holyrood can listen to hi-tech headsets giving information about the [pounds sterling]414million building in their native tongue.

But while the French, Spanish and German versions have all proved popular since their launch last year, the Gaelic gadgetry has been used only once.

Critics last night claimed that Scotland's public sector had become 'obsessed' with the minority language.

TaxPayers' Alliance spokesman Fiona McEvoy said: 'There were probably good intent ions behind this but the desire to be politically correct seems to have overtaken common sense.

'In these straitened times all spending has to be justifiable. This is the perfect example of just how important it is to establish demand before splashing taxpayers' money around.' The lack of interest in the Gaelic language tour was revealed in the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body's Annual Equalities Report which covered the period up to last April.

It states: 'Tours of the parliament using hand-held audiovisual guides were introduced in this reporting year and are available in 14 different languages: Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, French, German, Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, Gaelic and BSL [British Sign Language]. …