Midlothian MSP defends coffee and milk expenses

Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothain North and Musselburgh
Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothain North and Musselburgh

The latest data on Holyrood politicians’ allowances suggests one of our local MSPs has a particular penchant for powdered milk.

Along with claims for travel expenses, office rent, printing and photocopying, Colin Beattie, SNP MSP for Midlothian North was reimbursed for frequent purchases of Coffee-Mate.

But Mr Beattie, a former banker, said the non-dairy coffee creamer was for his staff and constituents who came to see him, not his own consumption.

He said: “I don’t drink coffee myself. My favourite tipple is Coke Zero – but I don’t put that through the books.”

Mr Beattie’s claims included two 1kg jars of fat-free Coffee-Mate from Costco on August 28 last year, another jar bought from Tesco for £2.25 in November, then one for £2.29 from Morrisons in January.

Coffee-Mate and sugar from Asda on February 15 came to £4.13; there was another claim for £2.25 for Coffee-Mate from Tesco on March 15; three jars of Coffee-Mate were included as part of a larger purchase at Costco on March 29; then another £2.49 claim for Coffee-Mate from Tesco on April 24, and £2.99 for a jar from Costco in June.

The claims are listed under Office Cost Provision – Business Meeting Expenses.

Mr Beattie said: “The Coffee-Mate was bought variously wherever staff were passing and is mainly for constituents and visitors per parliamentary allowances.”