Council releases financial details of 2014 referendum

Springwood Park in Kelso where the count for the referendum was announced in favoiur of the no campaign. Counting the results.
Springwood Park in Kelso where the count for the referendum was announced in favoiur of the no campaign. Counting the results.

Scottish Borders Council has released financial details of its role in last year’s Independence Referendum, “in the interests of transparency”.

The local authority has revealed that the costs that it incurred in running last year’s Scottish Independence Referendum added up to a total of £267,539.

That figure exceeds the maximum recoverable amount (MRA) which had been set at £223,726, which the local authority can claim back from the Scottish Government.

This leaves a shortfall of nearly £44,000.

The costs were revealed this week to a Freedom of Information requester who was seeking a copy of the return sent to the Scottish Government by SBC’s counting officer Tracey Logan, who is also the council’s chief executive.

The council said that it has released the claim “in the interests of transparency” while pointing out it is not required to do so under the FoI legislation.

It cost the council £113,142 to run the region’s 112 polling stations and £51,224 to process and handle 14,628 postal votes.

Polling cards for the total electorate of 95,542 accounted for £31,313 while the cost of running the count at Springwood Hall in Kelso was £52,294.

“Other costs” amounted to £19,564 and an additional £4,338 has been claimed for Ms Logan’s fee as Counting Officer.

A council spokesperson said this week: “Along with all councils in Scotland, SBC spent more than its maximum recoverable amount.

“However, our accounts have been fully scrutinised and the council has been advised its claim will be settled in full [by the Scottish Government] once the amended Charges Order has been approved.”

At the referendum, 55,553 (67%) voted No and 27,906 voted Yes, making it the most emphatic vote against independence of any council area in Scotland.