Parliament and the people conned over 'Donald's Dome' says McLetchie
Press release issued by the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, 18 February 2000
Commenting on today's announcement by Sir David Steel on the Holyrood project, Scots Tory Leader David McLetchie said:
'Today's statement by the Presiding Officer, Sir David Steel, that there is to be an independent review of the spiralling costs of the new parliament building will be yet another nail in the coffin of Donald Dewar's flagging Executive. Donald Dewar and the Labour party conned the people at the referendum of September 1997 and then the Parliament itself in June 1999 on the true costs of Holyrood.
'In his White Paper he promised that the building would cost, "between 10 and 40 million (pounds)." By March 1998 this had become 80 to 90 million (pounds). On 17 June 1999 Dewar told the Parliament that 109 million (pounds) was the figure 'that we now hold to — to the best of our ability — including fees, site acquisition and preparation, information technology and fit-out'. We now know that the cost could reach as much as 230 million (pounds) — a staggering 2300 per cent increase on the lowest White Paper projection and more than double the figure announced by Dewar just eight months ago to Parliament.
'Jack McConnell's budget now lies in ruins. Where is all the extra money going to come from?
'Will the health service bear the brunt, or our schools, or perhaps our understrength police force? How many fewer nurses, teachers and police officers will Scotland have in order to pay for Donald's Dome?
'In the debate last June, we called for a moratorium on Holyrood pending a review of all the options. This was rejected thanks to the votes of Labour and Lib Dem MSPs who were relying on Donald's cost guarantee. They were conned then just as the people had been conned before them in the White Paper.
'Dewar's folly will stand as a monument to the most incompetent administration in Scottish history.'