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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Task force to tackle Holyrood
Holyrood
The project is over-budget and behind schedule
A Labour MSP is being asked to lead a new cross-party group tasked with putting the Scottish Parliament building project back on track.

The MSP for Aberdeen Central and parliamentary colleagues will work alongside advisers drafted in to rescue the troubled development, which is hugely over-budget and behind schedule.

A progress committee, combining both politicians and construction experts, was suggested in the Spencely Report into the project and was endorsed by a majority of MSPs.

Lewis MacDonald
Lewis MacDonald: Heading cross-party group
But setting up the new working group has been dogged with difficulties.

The most notable was when the Scottish National Party refused to allow MSP and Deputy Presiding Officer George Reid to head the new team, arguing that ministers should take the lead.

Under the emerging deal, Mr MacDonald will head the new group along with Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, of the Liberal Democrats.

The nationalists will also nominate a member to serve on the committee but the Tories said they will not participate in the absence of a minister.

The Scottish Executive will second a senior civil servant to the new group - which will begin work next week and will exercise day to day control of the Holyrood project in an effort to avoid any further slippage on cost or time.

Ways forward

The project was originally priced at 40m but First Minister Donald Dewar conceded last year that the figure would be more like 109m.

Current estimates put the figure at between 190m and 230m.

A majority of MSPs voted to carry on with the project after architect John Spencely was called in to suggest ways forward.

Mr Spencely proposed the task force and new options on cost.

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See also:

06 Apr 00 | Scotland
Architect's health sparks concern
05 Apr 00 | Scotland
MSPs back Holyrood project
05 Apr 00 | Scotland
Holyrood: The Great Debate
30 Mar 00 | Scotland
Task force to curb Holyrood costs
22 Mar 00 | Scotland
Holyrood bill put at 190m
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