17 January 2015
Over a number of years the Labour Group on Dundee City Council has been very supportive of the project to bring the V & A to Dundee.
We have made that support clear in press statements and in our voting record.
When the last report was brought to the City Council regarding the V & A, we were told that there would be a value engineering exercise going on between the City Council and the potential contractor, with a view to making adjustments to the project that would reduce cost, in order to bring the project within the cost envelope of £49m.
To find that after the value engineering exercise, it is now estimated that the project will cost over £80m is astonishing.
I have previously asked for detailed briefings on costings on a confidential basis and have been refused on a number of occasions.
It is unacceptable that my colleagues and I have been kept in the dark about this staggering increase in the cost of the V & A whilst the SNP Administration has been fully informed.
The first time I was aware that the cost had doubled was when I received the papers for the Policy & Resources Committee on 26 January 2015.
This is unacceptable.
Iwant to see a successful project brought to fruition that brings jobs to the people of Dundee.
I am very, very concerned that the risk still appears to lie with Dundee City Council and the hard-pressed Council Tax payers of Dundee.
I think we should be looking for the Scottish Government to step in and under-write this whole project which is of national importance.
We will be looking for reassurance that the figures before us are final and that there will be no further slippage in costs.
I am sure that the people of Dundee do not want a project in their city to become like the Edinburgh trams project or building the Scottish Parliament with costs spiralling out of control.
The Labour Group will be seeking answers and a great deal more reassurance before the meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee on 26 January.