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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 09:53 GMT
Committee room confirmed for MSPs
The wooden beam came loose above MSPs in the chamber

MSPs will use a Holyrood committee room as a temporary debating hall while investigations into the main chamber's damaged ceiling take place.

The Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB), responsible for the day-to-day running of Holyrood, had said the room represented the "best option".

But only 90 of the 129 MSPs will be able to sit in the smaller venue.

Presiding Officer George Reid conceded the arrangements were not "ideal", but said it was a cost-effective solution.

The expected cost of holding debates, legislative business and ministerial questions in the committee room, including removing the large central table and setting up MSPs' voting consoles, is 16,000 a week - compared to an estimated 60,000 for The Hub, which had been used.

I continue to share the public frustration over the ongoing situation
George Reid
Presiding officer

Mr Reid said: "What we are putting to parliament is the most sensible, practical and cost-effective solution.

"We are proposing to make use of Holyrood in an innovative way, providing much-needed stability of location.

"It is for the structural experts to resolve the current chamber situation.

"What is proposed ensures that uncertainties surrounding business in relation to venue and cost will be eliminated."

He added: "I continue to share the public frustration over the ongoing situation.

"Whilst this proposal does not offer us perfect facilities, I firmly believe that bringing the chamber sessions back to Holyrood is the right thing to do."

Committee Room 2
Only 90 of the 129 MPSs will fit in Committee Room Two

The SPCB said a move to Committee Room Two - which must be approved by the parties' business chiefs - would remove the need for relocation and installation of new broadcast facilities and would be "largely cost neutral".

The other nearby venues considered were Edinburgh council chamber, Our Dynamic Earth, Holyrood Hotel, Holyrood Park House office building and Moray House.

The oak beam which came loose on 2 March is currently being tested at a facility in Hertfordshire.

The most recent report from structural engineers Arup disclosed that one of the two bolts holding the strut was missing, while the other was fractured.

In a recent statement, the SPCB said it was now exploring methods for replacing all of the bolts.


SEE ALSO:
MSP urges move to Queen's palace
13 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Holyrood beam bolt 'was missing'
11 Mar 06 |  Scotland
MSPs face further beam disruption
09 Mar 06 |  Scotland
Holyrood business halted by beam
02 Mar 06 |  Scotland


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