THE new significantly over-budget “fixed price” deal to build Dundee’s V&A Museum should give people confidence that it will be delivered successfully, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop has said.
The cost of building the museum has risen by more than £30 million from the previously approved budget of £49 million.
Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone called for an “unequivocal guarantee” that the additional £10 million the Scottish Government has pledged towards the construction will be adequate to complete the project.
Ms Hyslop said the need to provide certainty on the final cost was a key part of the discussions on the new “fixed price” contract of £80.11 million.
Mr Johnstone said: “Can the Cabinet Secretary give an unequivocal guarantee at this stage that the money that has been made available to support the project will be adequate to ensure that the people of Dundee get the V&A Museum that they have been promised for so long?”
Ms Hyslop said: “In terms of the certainty that he is looking for, that has been part and parcel of the discussions that have been taking place in relation to the contract to try to make sure that we get the best fixed price that was possible.
“That’s why, in terms of committing Scottish Government money, we will be making sure during that period that we are confident that the proposals and the figures - which are obviously a significant increase on what was the original estimate before tenders went out - could be realised and give people confidence that this project can go ahead and indeed will be successful.”
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She rejected calls by Labour MSP Claire Baker for an inquiry into the rising costs, insisting it would cause unnecessary “uncertainty”.
Speaking afterwards, Ms Baker said: “Yesterday I met with the director of Dundee V&A in his office overlooking a building site. According to the original V&A timetable I should have been given a tour of a museum on the verge of opening.
“We were originally told it would be ready in 2014, then 15, then 17 and now 2018. We are seeing escalating costs and continued delays. This is a project funded by public money and we need full transparency and accountability.
“The failure of the Scottish Government to commit to an inquiry raises the question, what have they got to hide? The contract has been awarded and work can commence, there is no reason why an inquiry would hold this up. This is a flimsy excuse from a Government wishing to sweep SNP failings under the carpet.
“Be in no doubt Scottish Labour fully support the V&A in Dundee. This museum has the ability to be another jewel in Scotland’s cultural crown and benefit the regeneration of Dundee greatly.”
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