Humza Yousaf has been asked what he plans to do about the reportedly rocketing cost of building a new prison to replace Barlinnie.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, challenged the First Minister on a reported cost overrun of £300 million for the new jail in the east end of Glasgow.

He said reports claim the cost of the project has increased from £100m to £400m.

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The new HMP Glasgow jail is being built on the old Provan gas works site on the other side of the M8 for Barlinnie.

It will house 1200 prisoners when complete.

Mr Sarwar asked if the jail would still be built on schedule.

He said: “Earlier this week, it was reported that the cost of building a new prison to replace Barlinnie has spiralled from £100m to £400m.“

He asked if Yousaf could confirm that the project is running over budget and what the final cost is expected to be.

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He said: “Will the new prison be operational in September 2026, as planned?”

The First Minister said external factors including UK economic policy, Brexit and the war in Ukraine had all led to increased costs but said the cost overruns will be “interrogated”.

Mr Yousaf said: “We are looking at the cost overruns and what can be done to mitigate their effect.

"I think that we all agree that Barlinnie is not in the condition that any of us would like it to be in. We are exploring what can be done.

“We are interrogating the figures in relation to Barlinnie. Construction costs have increased for a whole number of reasons, which are partly to do with the United Kingdom Government’s complete mismanagement of the economy and also to do with global factors, such as the war against Ukraine—Russia’s illegal invasion has affected construction costs."

He added: “The direct answer to Anas Sarwar’s question is that the cost overruns are being interrogated and we will do everything that we can to bring them down.”

Mr Sarwar branded the response “desperate".

He said: “It is really desperate to say that a 300 per cent increase in the cost of Barlinnie prison is somehow due to global factors around Ukraine and perhaps even Vladimir Putin.”