Friday 20 February 2004

The Scottish Parliament fiasco - part 998

So, it's gone up by another £19 million. I wrote some time ago that I expected the final cost of the building to be £500 million and I see no reason to alter that forecast. What's really extraordinary about the latest news from the Inquiry is this:
Mr Fisher told the hearing the true cost of the project had been suppressed for "political reasons" for several years. Twice MSPs voted to back the project, in 1999 and 2000, and on both occasions the true estimates were kept from them by civil servants.

The inquiry was shown a memo from Mr Fisher in 2000, in which he recorded how he had been told by Barbara Doig, the civil servant in charge of the Holyrood project, that it would be "inappropriate for political reasons" to release his cost estimates.

Why on earth are civil servants making political judgments? I thought that elected MPs and MSPs made policy and civil servants carried it out. I sincerely hope that heads will roll at the end of this affair with custodial sentences and loss of pension rights for those found guilty.