Bute House: Scottish Government insists lockdown repairs at Nicola Sturgeon's official residence were ‘essential’

The Scottish Government has insisted that repairs carried out in the First Minister’s official residence in Edinburgh were “essential”, after it was revealed that a team of workmen had been hired last week.

A whistleblower told the Daily Record that a contractor carried out the repair work at Bute House on behalf of Historic Environment Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s own Covid-19 rules, updated earlier this month, state: “The ­coronavirus regulations require that work carried out in someone else’s home for the maintenance, upkeep or functioning of the home must only be carried out where it is essential or where that house is unoccupied.

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“People must not go into other people’s houses for that type of work where it is not essential.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson insisted that the work carried out in Bute House last week had been for essential work on the ceiling.

The 18th century listed building, in Charlotte Square, serves as the official residence of the First Minister when they work in the Capital.

Scottish Conservatives health spokesman Donald Cameron urged the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to be “mindful of the rules.”

He said: “As we continue to try to stop the spread of the virus, everyone including the First Minister must be mindful of the rules that are in place.

The Scottish Government has insisted that repairs carried out in the First Minister’s official residence in Edinburgh were “essential”, after it was revealed that a team of workmen had been hired last week.

“While this work was deemed essential, many people will be wondering if this was ­absolutely necessary at this time.

“Clear and consistent guidelines must be in place from the SNP Government at all times to avoid any confusion over what sort of trade work is currently allowed inside homes.”

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said the news would come as a “slap in the face” to Scots who are “studiously observing the current restrictions.”

"They will be dismayed by this news, however I would encourage them to continue to do this and urge the First Minister to do the same.”

The 18th century listed building, in Charlotte Square, serves as the official residence of the First Minister when they work in the Capital. (Duncan McGlynn - Pool /Getty Images)

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Essential ceiling pinning work has taken place in January at Bute House and was completed on Monday.

“Contractors managed by Historic Environment Scotland follow all Government guidelines and restrictions and adhere to Covid protocols at all times.”

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