Officials now ‘hopeful’ that agreement on High School costs reached

£1m increase in build costs had sparked a row with the Scottish Government
£1m increase in build costs had sparked a row with the Scottish Government

HOPES ARE INCREASING at Moray Council over a dispute with the Scottish Government on a shortfall in building costs for the new Elgin High School.

The project was delayed for several months last year when the Scottish Government ran into problems with the European Union over its funding methodology for capital projects.

That resulted in an increase in the expected costs of the project of around £1million – costs that Moray Council insisted the Government should meet. However, ministers said that they had allocated £500,000 to cover “proper, eligible costs the council incurred as a result of the delay”.

At a meeting last year Graham Jarvis, Moray Council’s head of lifelong learning, culture and sport, promised to challenge the decision – and while an agreement is yet to be reached Mr Jarvis has said he is now confident that the government will revise their stance.

He said: “The situation remains unresolved but we are optimistic about reaching an agreement with the contractor and the Scottish Government as a result of recent negotiations.”

Council Leader Stewart Cree welcomed the move, saying that he was happy to hear that officials now had some confidence in how talks were progressing: “It is our aim to manage this programme in the way originally intended and we will monitor things going forward.”