PracticeConsultingEscalating costs prompt probe into Scottish parliament building

Escalating costs prompt probe into Scottish parliament building

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 Hollyrood 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 Dewer when he was still a Westminster cabinet minister.

Donald Gorrie, a member of both parliaments who is one of the leading critics of the Hollyrood project, welcomed the NAO involvement.

He would be quite happy if the PAC at Westminster were to join an investigation of what happened before the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament of July 1 last year.

He said: ‘The PAC would be looking into Westminster’s conduct on Scottish affairs before we took over, which is quite proper.’

But PAC member Iain Davidson, Labour MP for Glasgow, Pollock wants the PAC to be involved in the investigation from the beginning.

He said:’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 . If the two committees work together, hopefully we will have a joint report where the facts will be beyond doubt.’

Mr Davidson wants the enquiry to look again at siting the Parliament in Glasgow instead of the Scottish capitals claiming it would be cheaper and more efficient.

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