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Decision to drop legal action brings Holyrood farrago to a close

The Scottish Parliament has formally announced that it has decided against pursuing legal action over the mammoth cost hikes and delays over Enric Miralles' extraordinary Holyrood building.

Presiding officer George Reid revealed that plans to sue the contractor, engineer or architect on the project would not be followed through, despite the fact that costs jumped from an original estimate of £50 million to over £400 million.

In the same statement, Reid claimed that the final cost of the parliament building had actually fallen from the final estimate of £430.5 million to a figure of £414.4 million.

But the decision to drop the legal action - a move Reid described as 'closure' - is the most significant because it closes this painful chapter in the history of post-devolution Scotland.

Reid said: 'As Lord Fraser made clear [in his report into the affair], everyone engaged in the project - consultants, contractors, MSPs, staff - might have managed it better.

'So in making our announcement today, we are not trying to sweep past problems out of the way.

'The most we can claim is a steely determination to get a grip on the project; to move us in and then to move us on; and never to give up on our dedication to get back what we could for the public purse.

'Which is why I use the word 'closure' in its full double meaning today. Closure in the sense of finalising the accounts. But closure also in the psychological sense of finally letting go of a problem, of releasing oneself for new opportunities and challenges.

'And with closure, I very much hope that Scotland's third Parliament will, in May, get off to a fresh start,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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