Minister in the clear over grant

Fiona Hyslop gave evidence to the Education and Culture Committee to explain the decision to award a grant
Fiona Hyslop gave evidence to the Education and Culture Committee to explain the decision to award a grant
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A public spending watchdog has cleared Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop of wrongdoing over a state aid grant to the organisers of T in the Park.

Audit Scotland said the minister had acted within Scottish Government guidelines and had a clear rationale for approving the grant, but made several recommendations to improve “robustness and clarity”.

Ms Hyslop, who is a candidate at May’s Scottish Parliament elections in the Linlithgow constituency, came under fire last year after it emerged the Scottish Government had authorised a £150,000 grant for T in the Park just weeks after it became aware organisers DF Concerts had made £6.2 million profit.

The money was awarded to assist with relocation costs and consultancy fees after organisers made the decision to move from its long-term home at Balado to Strathallan Castle.

Ms Hyslop was brought before Holyrood’s Education and Culture Committee to explain the funding decision.

The decision was further investigated by Audit Scotland after a referral by an MSP and its investigation concluded last week.

In a written response to the MSP, Audit Scotland said: ““There was a clear rationale for the grant at the point at which the Scottish Government committed to provide it to DF Concerts. The outcomes and milestones against which progress was to be monitored are also clearly articulated in the award letter.”

It added that awarding the grant was a legitimate policy decision for the cabinet secretary, and was consistent with advice she received from officials.