Minister Says Holyrood Could Cost Us [Pounds Sterling]500million; MP Launches Savage Attack on 'Incompetent' MSPs and Civil Servants

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Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

A GOVERNMENT minister yesterday predicted the cost of the ill-fated Holyrood project will soar to [pounds sterling]500million.

Junior Trade Minister Nigel Griffiths said 'very bad political leadership' has meant the final price tag could be [pounds sterling] 69million more than the current estimate.

Mr Griffiths, the Labour MP for Edinburgh South, has a construction remit as an Under Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry.

He launched a vitriolic attack on the 'level of incompetence' among the MSPs and civil servants in charge of the project.

His intervention will fuel fears that insiders already know the final bill will be well in excess of the [pounds sterling]431million announced only weeks ago.

A [pounds sterling]500million cost for Holyrood would mean the equivalent of an astonishing [pounds sterling]100 for every man, woman and child in Scotland.

Mr Griffiths made the comments in an interview with Building, a construction industry magazine.

Describing his prediction as a 'guesstimate', he said: 'I will not be surprised given what has happened if the final cost comes in at half a billion.

'It is a classic case of very bad political leadership by the committee in charge.

'The members interfered at every stage and left us with a mess to clear up.

I think the staggering level of incompetence of the committee will be exposed by the Holyrood Inquiry.' Mr Griffiths said the disastrous project had done the Scottish parliament's image 'no favours at all'. …