Margo calls for extra £2m to splash out on Commie Pool

MARGO MacDONALD is pressing the Scottish Government to give Edinburgh an extra £2 million towards refurbishment of the Royal Commonwealth Pool.

The Independent Lothians MSP said it was right there should be some recognition of the expense being incurred by thecity council in refurbishing the pool as a venue for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The pool – a Grade-A-listed building – will host the diving events during the Games, and the revamp currently under way is costing a total of 37m.

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The Scottish Government is contributing 5m, with the council having to meet the rest of the bill.

Meanwhile, Glasgow, the main centre for the Games, is getting 80 per cent Scottish Government funding towards the ballooning costs of staging the event, which has now reached a reported 450m.

Ms MacDonald said: "Because finances are so tight, I think it's right that if Edinburgh is providing a venue and it is costing the city money, out of its own council tax income, that should be recognised. I have been advised the 2m would be most welcome."

She said she had had discussions with Finance Secretary John Swinney and put her proposal to him.

"He's thinking about it. That's as much as I know."

Ms MacDonald revealed her latest bid for new cash for Edinburgh as MSPs prepared for their first vote on the SNP's budget for the next financial year.

Mr Swinney was expected to win this afternoon's Stage One vote to approve the budget in principle.

Last week, the Evening News revealed Ms MacDonald wanted the government to fund the training of stonemasons to restore Edinburgh's crumbling tenements.

She said she had put the plan to Mr Swinney, and added: "I think he likes the idea."

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The city council had planned to use cash from the sale of Meadowbank to help pay for the Commonwealth Pool revamp, but that sale was put on hold when land prices dropped.

Council leader Jenny Dawe welcomed Ms MacDonald's bid for extra funding. She said: "Margo has always been a great friend to Edinburgh."