Headlines: October 8th, 1999

Figures just announced indicate that it will cost forty million pounds a year to run Scotland’s Parliament.The Parliament will have at its disposal a budget which includes the power to spend an extra £1,800 million on the country’s health service, and an extra £1,300 million on education.

The country’s Finance Minister Jack McConnell has also revealed a deal with the Treasury that promises unspent money won’t be clawed back at the end of the year.

The arrangement is closely linked to the three year Comprehensive Spending Review to allow smoother planning and delivery of public services.

In a separate statement, Sir David Steel, Presiding Officer and Chair of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), revealed that day-to-day running of the Scottish Parliament was going to be more expensive than first thought.

Sir David said the rise was due to an incorrect ‘guesstimate’ by the UK Parliament 18 months ago as to running costs.

The parliament has now had nearly five months of operation and the new figures represented a more considered budget, he said.

It will cost thirty five million pounds to run the Parliament in this its first part-year, an increase of five million on planned, and forty million pounds a year in subsequent years, an increase of two million pounds a year on planned.

The budget includes more than six million pounds a year on MSPs’ salaries.

The Parliament will also require a capital spend next year of fifty five million pounds, and in the following year of twenty four million pounds, to pay for its new Holyrood home.