I was shocked by the results of my research I wonder if Scottish voters know about this.

Graham Charles Lear
4 min readJul 1, 2023


In the second part of this report, I delve deeper into the SNP government’s profligacy in maintaining a luxurious suite of offices with 30 staff in ‘Scotland House’ in Brussels. I consider the results shocking. Tomorrow I look into Scotland’s finances and how they will not pass the EU’s tests. And I will reveal just how dependent Scotland is on its home market in the rest of the UK. The sheer size of the SNP’s operation in Brussels is outstanding.

As I reported yesterday, the UK government has a ‘UK National Parliament Office’ in Brussels, staffed by two individuals, and the British Embassy.

By contrast, in the Scottish government’s luxurious headquarters in ‘Scotland House’ sit an astonishing total of 30 directors and staff, employed by the Scottish government.

The details follow (I know the names and full contact details of each.

The scope of the SNP’s operation in Brussels


+0032 (0)2 282 8330

Director, Brussels

Martin Johnson
+0032 (0)2 282 8331

Deputy Director, Brussels

Joni Smith

+0044 (0)7 77 624 4189


Personal Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director

Avrielle Rouse
+0032 (0)2 282 8355

Institutional Relations

Senior Policy Adviser: EU Engagement, Institutions and Events

Jenny Gibbons
+0032 (0)2 282 8342

Policy Adviser: EU Engagement, Institutions, Culture and Erasmus

Paul Houlihan
+0032 (0)2 282 8357

Policy Adviser: European Parliament and Bilateral Relations

Tanya Laurijssen
+0032 (0)2 282 8334

Justice and Home Affairs

Senior Policy Adviser: Justice and Home Affairs

John Doyle
+0032 (0)2 282 8340

Net Zero, Environment, Marine and Rural Affairs

Senior Policy Adviser: Energy, Marine and Fisheries

Laura Louise O’Reilly
+0032 (0)2 282 8333

Senior Policy Adviser: Agriculture and Climate Change

Damon Hewlett
+0032 (0)2 282 8353

Policy Adviser: Environment and Transport

Luke McGuire
+0032 (0)2 282 8341

Inclusive Growth

Senior Policy Adviser: Trade, Digital, Financial Services and Tax

Laura White
+0032 (0)2 282 8339

Policy Adviser: Health, Employment, Social Security

Jamie Campbell
+0032 (0)2 282 8340

Research and Innovation

Senior Policy Adviser: Research and Innovation, EU Programmes and Funding

Alison McSheaffrey
+0032 (0)2 282 8332

Policy Adviser: Research and Innovation, Higher Education and EU Funding

Janet Thompson
+0032 (0)2 282 8354

Communications, Events and Corporate Services

Communications Lead

Paul Houlihan
+0032 (0)2 282 8341

Visits and Events Manager

Janet Thompson
+0032 (0)2 282 8354

Corporate Services and Policy Support Officer

Nathalie Fairburn
+0032 (0)2 282 8335

Finance Officer

Lesley Hayward
+0032 (0)2 282 8355

Communications and Events Intern

Narine Aldasheva

+0032 (0)2 282 8337

Policy and Events Intern

Rebecca Gaff
+0032 (0)2 282 8318

Policy and Events Intern

Olivia de Hennin
+0032 (0)2 282 8319

First published 26 March 2019

Last updated 1 December 2021 —

Its all there for anyone to see if they look


It gets worse

Even this huge team is apparently not enough for the SNP. I can reveal the recruitment drive currently underway to augment what they have already.

  1. Intern, salary €1,300 per month plus benefits
  2. Intern, salary €1,300 per month plus benefits
  3. Admin assistant, salary neg, with 32 days holidays, transport, meal vouchers, eco cheques, health insurance, pension scheme
  4. Senior EU Policy and Funding Executive — Environment, Industry and Innovation, salary neg, with 32 days holidays, transport, meal vouchers, eco cheques, health insurance, pension scheme

Taking the cost of the rental of the building into account plus its maintenance, plus the staff costs with all the benefits such as more than six weeks of paid holiday, short working hours, and a pension scheme, this is costing the Scottish people a fortune each year.

And all this is being subsidised by the English taxpayer, via the Barnett formula.

The rest of the UK subsidises Scotland via ‘the Barnett Formula’

The ‘Barnett formula’ is essentially a subsidy to Scotland and its people, from England. It is currently the equivalent of approximately £2,000 per person per year.

Named after its originator, the Labour Minister Joel Barnett, it was designed as a short-term measure to cover Scotland’s transition to being devolved in 1979. Since then no government has rescinded it, as it is seen as being ‘a hot potato’.

Here is what Joel Barnett wrote back in 2004, almost 20 years ago:

“It was never meant to last this long, but it has gone on and on and it has become increasingly unfair to the regions of England. I didn’t create this formula to give Scotland an advantage over the rest of the country when it comes to public funding.”

It comes in the form of a block grant, which the Scottish government can use as it wishes. One could therefore say that in fact, English taxpayers are paying for Scotland’s luxurious headquarters in Brussels.

Whether the SNP likes it or not, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom. The UK maintains an EU office of two personnel — mainly feeding back information to Parliament — plus there is the British Embassy which is more than capable of representing Scotland and does so. Yes, like all Foreign Office operations, it is stacked with Remainer-Rejoiners, but nevertheless, it is there for the interests of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

I would like to know what possible justification there is for Scotland’s SNP government to act like Scotland is already an independent country, when opinion polls show that the majority wish to remain in the United Kingdom.

The sheer size of its operation in Brussels is akin to that of a major country, which Scotland is not. I do wonder if the Scottish people have been made aware of the costs of the SNP government maintaining such a lavish operation in the EU’s capital.

Sources: Office for National Statistics | HMRC | Scottish government



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.