The soaring cost of the controversial new Scottish parliament building in Edinburgh is to be investigated by auditors on both sides of the border. The new parliament’s audit committee is to probe the troubled Holyrood scheme whose price has rocketed from an original #109m to a reported #230m. Scotland’s new auditor general is to investigate the affair and the cost increases since the new body was set up last year. The NAO in London will probe the decisions taken by Scotland’s first minister Donald Dewar when he was Scottish Secretary at Westminster before then. The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has agreed to allow the NAO to make an investigation and report to its Scottish counterpart. However the all-party group at Westminster will keep a ‘watching brief’ on the enquiry that will be ready to join the investigation if the Scottish Audit Committee decides that major mistakes were made by Dewar when he was still a Westminster cabinet minister. PAC member Iain Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow Pollock, wants the PAC to be involved in the investigation from the outset. ‘I accept that the Scottish Parliament ought to be investigating the money it is spending, the decision making began from the time of the general election,’ he said. ‘If the two committees work together, hopefully we will have a joint report where the facts will be beyond doubt.’ Davidson wants the enquiry to look again at siting the parliament in Glasgow instead of the Scottish capital claiming it would be cheaper and more efficient.
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