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Michael Matheson: Scotland’s health secretary to pay back £11,000 parliamentary iPad bill | UK News

A Scottish government minister has agreed to pay back almost £11,000 after racking up a hefty data roaming bill on his parliamentary iPad while on a family holiday in Morocco.

Health Secretary Michael Matheson was said to have been using the device for work but had not switched over from the parliament’s old mobile contract to a new one.

The roaming charges – for the iPad and not phone calls – totalled £10,935.74.

Officials at Holyrood challenged the bill over the scale of the data fees and the late warning over the rising cost, but previous provider EE declined to waive it.

Mr Matheson agreed to pay £3,000 towards the cost from his expenses budget. As the data use was reportedly for parliamentary business, the Scottish parliament agreed to pay the rest.

The incident sparked a public outcry, with both Scottish Labour and the Scottish Conservatives calling for Mr Matheson to foot the “eye-watering bill” instead of taxpayers. The Tories branded the cost “absolutely scandalous”.

Mr Matheson, who as the cabinet secretary for NHS recovery, health and social care has an annual salary of £118,511, said on Friday afternoon: “I have contacted the Scottish parliament authorities this afternoon to make arrangements to reimburse the full cost of the £10,935.74 incurred in roaming charges on my parliament iPad.

“While the parliament agreed to pay the bulk of this sum as a legitimate expense, with the rest being met from my office allowance, I have reflected long and hard and accept that the SIM card on this device should have been replaced at an earlier stage.

“Much of the speculation in the past couple of days has questioned my integrity, and I take this extremely seriously.

“I take equally seriously the reputation of the Scottish parliament, of which I have always striven to be a diligent member since its restoration in 1999.

“It is my decision to reimburse these costs in full, which I believe in all the circumstances to be the right one.”

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This notice was published: 2023-11-10 08:35:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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