Cabinet ministers’ offices flooded after pipes burst

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Scottish ParliamentBy Rory Reynolds

SCOTTISH Parliament staff have been forced to carry out mopping up operations at the troubled Holyrood building yet again – this time after senior ministers’ offices were hit by water leaks.

Finance secretary John Swinney and housing minister Alex Neil were worst affected, while Transport minister Stewart Stevenson and the health minister Shona Robison saw their offices also affected after building work failed yet again.

The latest embarrassment saw staff having to mop up the leaks which were caused when a blocked drainpipe forced water back into the building, causing the ‘Ministerial Tower’ offices to be affected with water.

Initially it had been rumoured the ministers themselves may have been involved in the clear up, but yesterday this was vehemently denied by parliament press officers who issued a denial.

But they did admit also that Holyrood, which cost a staggering £414 million to complete, was still suffering problems a full five years after it was first opened.A reported £4 million has previously been spent on maintenance since it opened in a blaze of controversy.

Gigantic

One source said: “It was found by officials one morning, Alex Neil’s was the worst affected.

“The ceiling had come down and there were a lot of papers which got wet and they had to re-do the whole ceiling and paint it.”

They added that the leak had spread to another area where officials work, saying: “It was coming in there as well – and then at Stewart Stevenson’s room they had one of those gigantic bins which I thought was for waste paper.

“But it turned out to the full of water.

“Stewart’s office was slightly damaged, as was Shona Robison’s.”

A spokesman for the parliament confirmed that there had been leaks on a Sunday, during the recess.

Blocked

He said: “The problem was caused by a blocked drainpipe which led to water backing up and finding its way into the building.

“We had to replace a two metre section of plasterboard in a ceiling, but there was no other damage.

“The blockage in the downpipe has been fixed, and we keep our maintenance programme under regular review.”

The incident is not the first time that Holyrood has had to deal with leaks.

Earlier this year Holyrood spent around £100,000 fixing several others which had sprung up around the building.

Problem

The black and white corridor leading to the main debating chamber has frequently needed buckets to catch dripping water from leaks,.

In September this year repairs had to be carried out on MSPs pod-like windows, which are used for contemplation.

Yesterday afternoon a spokesman for the Scottish Government issued a further statement stating there had been a problem with the site, adding: “The piece of plasterboard that was replaced was two square metres in size.”

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