Dundee V&A museum: Taxpayers could face £50m bill

An artist's illustration of an exterior section of the V&A museum in Dundee. Picture: Contributed
An artist's illustration of an exterior section of the V&A museum in Dundee. Picture: Contributed
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THE Scottish Government has agreed to stump up an extra £10 million to help secure the future of Dundee’s controversial V&A museum – and could end up providing more than £50m for the project.

Work is due to get under way in March after ministers stepped in to bail out the long-delayed scheme, which will now cost at least £80m to deliver – ­almost double its budget.

The new funding means that ministers, who described the proposed V&A as a “signature building”, have committed £36.5m to the development on Dundee’s waterfront via funding from both the government and Scottish Enterprise.

A further £12.6m loan may also have to be provided in a ­similar deal to one which ­rescued the long-delayed project to overhaul the St James Centre in Edinburgh.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the latest funding deal demonstrated the government’s “firm commitment” to the plan, which was first ­announced eight years ago.

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Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy also backed the scheme, saying it was “vital to Dundee’s efforts to attract tourism from all over Scotland, the UK and the rest of world”.

However, he also urged the government to take a “firm grip on the spiralling cost” of the project, which will see the ­creation of the first UK design museum outside London.

It emerged last week that costs had soared from £49m, with the ­attraction now not due to open until 2018 – four years later than planned.

The Heritage Lottery Fund and Dundee City Council are also expected to have to commit extra funding under a new plan drawn up after months of negotiations with BAM Construction, the firm which won the tender to build the museum.

Politicians are demanding an independent inquiry into the dramatic price hike, which has been blamed on the “highly complex nature” of the building – which was said to be a major surprise to the project team when the tenders came back.

Designed by Japanese ­architect Kengo Kuma, the new museum is the centrepiece of Dundee’s £1 billion waterfront regeneration scheme, where 4,800 jobs are expected to be ­created in the next few years.

The museum is expected to bring an extra £11.6m to the city every year.

Mr Swinney added: “The £25m capital funding we have allocated to this iconic project underlines our firm commitment to working with the project board to ensure its delivery, success and long-term ­sustainability.”

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The project has ­already played a major role in the recent award of Unesco City of Design status for Dundee.

“It will highlight Scotland’s exceptional design talent and ­attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from far and wide.”

City council leader Ken Guild said: “We have had some very frank conversations with ministers and senior civil servants and they realise the V&A is part of a project to regenerate Dundee, which will have a positive economic effect for the city, region and all of the east coast.”

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