I see there has been a newspaper story reporting the payment of £1320 to me by South Lanarkshire Council to present a conference on poverty in 2013. As a result, I’ve decided to pay £1320 to South Lanarkshire Women’s Aid. I think I should have regarded the event as a charitable one – even though it was arranged by a council. I standardly charge £250 per day for charitable groups (if they have a budget) but I’ve made no charge for most of the 200 plus events I’ve spoken at over the last two years, some related to the indyref but most on housing, welfare, renewable energy and poverty. I usually ask £20 for petrol. I am self-employed and no-one else covers the costs of my time. Very often I am the only non-salaried person in the room at professional events and that’s why any fee shows up – others are present as part of their job and their expenses are paid by employers. The sum paid by South Lanarkshire represents almost half of my annual earnings from conference work. It’s always worth putting individual payments into perspective, it’s always worth remembering sums include mileage and VAT which businesses have no option but to levy -- and it’s always worth supporting Women’s Aid.