Ministers spending almost £750k on St Andrew's House in midst of cost-of-living crisis

Almost three quarters of a million pounds is being spent to refurbish the Scottish Government’s headquarters in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

Ministers have approved the award of a contract worth £734,921 to project management company Faithful Gould, which are ultimately owned by a Canadian construction firm, to undertake the work.

Officials said the award would be an “architectural, construction and engineering investigation” on how to improve emissions at the building and ensure it is inclusive for all staff.

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Stephen Kerr, the Scottish Conservative chief whip, said the work on St Andrew’s House would “raise a few eyebrows” amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

St Andrew's House, headquarters of the Scottish Government in EdinburghSt Andrew's House, headquarters of the Scottish Government in Edinburgh
St Andrew's House, headquarters of the Scottish Government in Edinburgh

He said: “This costly refurbishment will raise a few eyebrows at a time of unprecedented pressure on public and personal finances.

“Now more than ever, the SNP Government must be able to justify every penny of taxpayer expenditure, so they must be fully transparent and explain why doing up their own building is essential right now.”

It comes a few weeks after the Scottish Conservatives attacked the SNP for failing to install solar panels on government buildings.

Just 22 per cent of the Scottish Government’s core estate has been fitted with solar panels, but ministers said listed building status of some properties, the amount of roof space, and the orientation of the roofs had restricted this.

St Andrew’s House was constructed from 1935 and officially opened in 1939, housing the Scottish Office and the Secretary of State for Scotland until the devolution era.

Since 1999 the A-listed building has housed the Scottish Government and underwent a major refurbishment in 2001.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Following an open and fair tender process, a specialist team has been commissioned to undertake an architectural, construction and engineering investigation to establish how improvements can be made to St Andrews House.

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"This will include specialist advice on how this A-listed building can achieve net zero carbon emissions as well as making the building inclusive and accessible for all staff. The work will take place over the next seven months.”

It is not known what the final cost of the entire refurbishment project will be.

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