Council spends £9.5K on holidays for troubled kids and carers

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A SCOTS council spent nearly £9,500 sending troubled youngsters and their carers on luxury holidays abroad.

Shetland Council forked out the “totally inappropriate” sum treating two young people and their social care workers to four-star resorts in Disneyland Paris and Portugal.

The information, revealed by a Freedom of Information request, details the two trips which are well beyond the means of many working parents.

The Disneyland lodge where two carers and a young person stayed (Pic: Disneyland Paris)
The Disneyland lodge where two carers and a young person stayed (Pic: Disneyland Paris)

 

In August last year, two social care workers and a young person spent four nights at the Disneyland resort in Paris – all funded by the taxpayer.

They were given £517 petty cash to spend while staying at the four-star Sequoia Lodge, which boasts an indoor swimming complex, sauna and fitness centre.

Their accommodation alone, including Disneyland tickets, totalled £2,725 and flights came to £1,390.

The lodge boasts amenities such as an indoor swimming pool (Pic: Disneyland Paris)
The lodge boasts amenities such as an indoor swimming pool (Pic: Disneyland Paris)

 

Taxpayers also forked out £56 for train tickets, £129 for airport transfers and £75 travel insurance.

Hard-working Scots even paid £170 for card charges and currency conversion rates for the trio.

Shetland Council funded another holiday, taken earlier this month, where two social care workers and a young person spent seven nights at the Janelas Do Mar apartments in Portugal.

The apartments, situated in Albufeira, are within “easy reach” of bars, restaurants and beaches.

Shetland Council also forked out for a trip to Portugal (Pic: Thomson Holidays)
Shetland Council also forked out for a trip to Portugal (Pic: Thomson Holidays)

 

They boast an outdoor splash pool and whirlpool bath, with a snack bar, gym and mini-market.

The two carers and young person were given £700 petty cash to spend, and taxpayers paid £134 for them to go on an excursion and enjoy a day at a water park.

The travel and accommodation totalled £3,506, with an added £45 for travel insurance.

Both trips amounted to £9,450.73 – a figure that has been slammed by taxpayers’ groups and the Scottish Conservatives.

A beach on Albufeira, where the trio were staying (Pic: Wiki Commons)
A beach on Albufeira, where the trio were staying (Pic: Wiki Commons)

 

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “No-one disputes the hard work that social workers do, but that’s no excuse for this spending.

“It’s totally inappropriate for the Council to be paying for holidays with taxpayers’ money that many of those taxpayers’ can’t afford themselves.

“Serious questions have to be asked of those who made these decisions, as on the face of it they are simply unjustifiable in the current financial climate.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said: “Travel broadens the mind and there’s no doubt that time away in another country may help service users, but the fact is that a trip to Disneyland is out of reach for many council tax payers.

Details from the FOI request
Details from the FOI request

 

“Holidays are a luxury and many hard-working people would be appalled to find their council tax is being used to fund such trips.”

A spokesman for Shetland Islands Council said: “It is important that our young people who are being looked after permanently by the Local Authority are given similar opportunities to other young people from Shetland.

“Trips away from Shetland help broaden their experiences and prepare them for their future into adulthood.

Further details about the holiday
Further details about the holiday

 

“The confidence and self-esteem of these young people have been enhanced by these trips.”

A Scots family of four spends an average of £961 per person on a summer holiday – which amounts to a whopping two months’ salary.

Figures show that people living in the West Midland’s are the UK’s biggest spenders, at £1,084 per person, but those living in the North East fork out roughly £675 per family member.

Earlier this year it was revealed that a child care worker had sex with an “unknown man” in the same bed as a vulnerable teenager while they were on holiday in Tenerife.

Harriet McAdam, from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, was in charge of a 17-year-old girl when she “engaged in sexual activity” while sharing a double bed with her.

The care worker was struck off by the social services watchdog after it was found proven she also allowed the teenager to drink alcohol and attend bars and nightclubs.

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