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New Inverness prison must be fast-tracked after 10 years of SNP 'broken promises' says Edward Mountain amid fears for further delays


By Scott Maclennan

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Inverness and Nairn Conservative candidate Edward Mountain at the site of the planned new HMP Highland.
Inverness and Nairn Conservative candidate Edward Mountain at the site of the planned new HMP Highland.

Scottish Conservative candidate for Inverness and Nairn, Edward Mountain, has promised to press for the construction of HMP Highland to be fast-tracked following its decade-long delay.

Mr Mountain accused the SNP of “broken promises” on delivering the replacement for the Victorian-era Inverness Prison.

Back in 2011, the SNP Scottish Government said it would cost about £52 million to construct a new prison in Inverness.

Then in 2016, the SNP Scottish Government said it would then cost about £66 million, with construction to start in 2018 so it would be operational by August 2020.

But in the SNP government’s latest infrastructure plan, published in February 2021, the operational date has been pushed back to February 2024 and costs have spiralled to £110 million.

However, despite those promises, the draft budget only making £72.8 million available to Scottish Prisons Service for capital projects for the next financial year.

Mr Mountain said: “HMP Highland is a shovel-ready project that would create much-needed construction jobs for the region and, if re-elected, I will press for its construction to be fast-tracked.

“The SNP have played politics with the new prison for too long. They promised to construct it 2011, 2016 and are promising it again before this year’s election too.

“Meanwhile, the dedicated prison staff at HMP Inverness continue to work in an overcrowded Victorian-era prison. Frankly, this is unacceptable.

“In the SNP’s latest promise, if you trust it at all, they say HMP Highland will be built by 2024 at a cost of £110 million.

"However, their own Scottish Budget for the Scottish Prison Service only includes £72.8 million for capital projects.

“This should give Highlanders little confidence that the SNP intend to deliver key infrastructure projects for our region.”

Read more on the story by clicking here and our election coverage can be found here



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