IT COST almost £470,000 to send a delegation led by First Minister Alex Salmond to the Ryder Cup golf tournament in America, the Scottish Government has said.

September's trip was part of a plan to "maximise the economic benefits" of hosting the event in Scotland in 2014, which the Government estimates will generate at least £100 million for the economy.

Labour MSP Patricia Ferguson said: "To find out that Alex Salmond's trip to watch the golf cost almost half a million pounds is eye-watering."

"This comes on top of the tens of thousands of pounds spent on his trip to the opening of Brave in California earlier this year.

"Alex Salmond has no shame.

At a time of such severe cuts to public spending and thousands continue to lose their jobs, for Alex Salmond to be spending such sums is outrageous.

"Scots will rightly ask what world the First Minister inhabits."