Cost of HMP Highland quadruples to £209m

Cost of HMP Highland quadruples to £209m

Angela Constance

A new prison for the Highlands is to arrive six years late and cost more than four times its original estimate.

The cost of HMP Highland has risen from £92 million, the figure given in 2020, to £209m – quadruple the original figure of £52m.

Justice Secretary Angela Constance blamed the rising cost on Brexit, high inflation and supply chain issues.

Local MSP Edward Mountain said, however, that it raises serious questions about the project.

HMP Highland will accommodate 200 prisoners, which is over 100 more than the capacity of the existing Inverness Prison.

The construction contract signed with Balfour Beatty will create more than £60 million worth of supply chain investment with local businesses and new jobs both in the build and operation phases of the new prison.

Ms Constance said: “Signing this contract marks a significant milestone for the Highlands, which will not only provide much-needed additional capacity and continue the modernisation of Scotland’s prison estate but will also provide investment and jobs to the area.

“HMP Highland will deliver safe and secure accommodation with better education and health facilities to help with rehabilitation and reduce offending.

“As with all large-scale national construction projects, Brexit, high inflation and supply chain issues have had an impact on the initial estimated costs, which we have been working hard with the prison service and suppliers to keep to a minimum.”

Linda Pollock, deputy chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service, said: “With the support of the Scottish government, we are committed to investing in our estate to create better environments for people to live and work.

“HMP Highland will not only increase the capacity previously available at HMP Inverness, but also provide space for quality rehabilitative work which we know gives people the greatest possible chance of a successful return to their communities on liberation.”

Mr Mountain commented: “Infrastructure projects are vital but so too is value for the taxpayer. It’s essential this price does not increase any further, and that the Scottish government can get on and complete this project as quickly as possible.”

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