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Scots shunned in timber row as Holyrood bosses turn to Europe

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Not one beam of the timber used in the notorious £431 million Scottish Parliament building was sourced from Scotland, despite claims at the project's inception that it would all be Scottish oak, the AJ can reveal.

Project managers and contractors secretly decided early in the construction process to drop plans to use only local wood and instead looked abroad to France and eastern Europe for cheaper alternatives.

The move has infuriated both patriots and local timber merchants alike, who hoped the project, which is finally on the verge of completion this month, would act as a spark for the beleaguered local timber industry.

The news flies in the face of statements from Scottish politicians - including the late first minister Donald Dewar - at the scheme's start vowing to use as many Scottish materials as possible.

But the AJ has discovered that none of the Scottish timber sourced for the building was ever used, and it is understood that it remains in store in a warehouse.

It also emerged last week that very few of the other materials used in the project came from sources north of the border, and were instead imported at cheapest cost from countries as varied as China and South Africa.

'We received the commission to source all this oak, so we went out and gathered it from throughout the country, ' said Archie McConnell of Dumfriesbased McConnell Wood Products.

'Originally the architects and the contractors gave us the go-ahead, but then it all went quiet.

They failed to push the right buttons at the right time and the whole thing fell through. We were left with a load of wood and nothing to do with it.

'They then promised to use some of it for the flooring but that fell through as well. The oak they wound up using wasn't even from the UK, let alone Scotland. It's a real shame because an order for £3.5 million of oak could have been a real fillip for the industry and the economy as a whole, ' McConnell added.

Veteran Holyrood watcher David Black agreed the origin of the materials had been hushed up.

'The authorities don't want people to know that, for example, the granite is mainly Chinese and the steel is all Japanese, ' he said. 'It seems that the only thing that is Scottish about the building is that it resembles yesterday's leftover porridge.'

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