By Matthew Robertson
Taxpayers have once again paid the price, as it has been announced that over the last five years, they have had fork out over £4 million for maintenance costs for the Scottish Parliamentary buildings in Holyrood.
This coming off the back of numerous occasions of over expenditure demonstrated by the government, such as the 2012 London olympics, is another kick in the teeth for the general public and is another example of how this country constantly fails to keep its financial budgets in order.
MSPS are perhaps the most illustrious of names of people who have lined up to criticise the cost of the famous buildings, as they blamed the “extravagant” designs for the high costs in maintenance.However, things such as security and cleaning lead to the buildup of cash spend on this project.New figures which were recently published this year show that a bill of £1.3 million was reached last year alone. This was mainly down to unscheduled maintenance such as the varnishing of the oak poles at the front of the building, reconstruction of the elevators and the cleaning of the premises such windows and flooring.
The figures also showed that one contractor, Norland, was paid a total of £5.1m for mechanical, electrical and fabric maintenance and work on security projects.When asked whether they felt that the money was well spent, Norland replied”We, along with the parliament feel that the finances spent of maintenance were necessary and will provide the country with a building they can be proud of”.
For a building which has been open for five years now, it could be said that there are some areas for improvement. For example a Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said “Holyrood is a unique building which is used by up to 1,000 people every day as well as more than 350,000 visitors a year. Naturally this has an impact on maintenance. We constantly review and develop our maintenance plans to ensure that cost-effective solutions are delivered.”
But when times are as tough as they currently are, this particular government debacle is hardly music to the public’s ears.