Holyrood maintenance price set to rise

MSPs have been told to expect higher maintenance costs at the Scottish Parliament.

The comment follows a planned increase in the building maintenance budget from £75,000 to £685,000.

The expected rise comes amid a wider drop in the overall budget, with spending at Holyrood due to fall by £1.5 million in a year. The 2 per cent drop takes the total budget from £75.3 million in 2011-12 to £73.8 million in 2012-13.

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Holyrood’s Finance Committee asked for details on several changes within the budget, highlighted in a briefing paper which shows an increase in the capital expenditure budget from £1.5 million for 2012-13 to £2.3 million for the following year.

Other budget changes include a £42,000 increase in staff pay in 2013-14.

MSPs heard from a panel which included Holyrood chief executive Paul Grice and Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur who sits on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.

On the building maintenance increase, Mr McArthur said the lower £75,000 figure reflects different priorities during the last session of parliament which ended with an election.

Some money was shifted away from facilities management to help support new MSPs, he said.

He added: “The budget for the previous year is around £400,000, so probably more in line with the £685,000 for the budget under consideration here.

“I think it’s also probably worth bearing in mind that as the parliament ages, we’re likely to see a general upward trend in that budget, just reflecting the kind of wear and tear of the building.”

Mr McArthur said the £1.5 million capital budget increase “gives a degree of flexibility” and said there is no committed expenditure this year or in 2013-14.

He added: “Potential projects that fall under this budget heading are the IT refreshes, of which we’ve had some over recent years.”