Cole-Hamilton challenges First Minister on dangerous concrete in fire stations 

By Bill Heaney

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has he challenged First Minister Humza Yousaf on his government’s failure to deal with the prevalence of dangerous concrete (RAAC) in fire stations.

Mr Cole-Hamilton MSP, left, told the Scottish Parliament: “I have here a freedom of information request which shows the Fire Service contacted the Scottish Government four years ago about having to prop up station ceilings because of dangerous concrete.

“RAAC is in 14 of them, from Milngavie to Portree and they include the Helensburgh Fire Station in South King Street.

“The Chief Fire Officer asked for £70 million to fix it, but ministers actually cut their capital budget in real terms.

“Fire station roofs were the canary in the coal mine for the concrete crisis now affecting schools and hospitals, and yet the government were nowhere on this.  Not telling Parliament, ignoring it internally, even cutting budgets.

“Firefighters run towards danger on every job, they shouldn’t have to face it when they return to base.

“So, can I ask the First Minister, would the government have ignored dangerous concrete for four years if it had been found in the roof of Bute House?”

The list of 14 stations which contain RAAC can be found here. They are: Crewe Toll, Cumbernauld, Dalkeith, Galashiels, Hawick, Helensburgh, Huntly, Liberton, Livingston, Marionville, Milngavie, Portree, Stewarton and Tranent.

An email from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to the Scottish Government on 30 August 2019, about its capital requirements and confirming RAAC had been found in stations, can be found here.

A letter from SFRS Chief Officer Martin Blunden to the Scottish Government on 1 December 2021, explaining that it needed £70.5 million for RAAC panel roof replacement, can be found here.

The real-terms cuts to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s capital budget are set out in the table below.

A further real-terms cut to the SFRS capital budget followed in the 2023/24 Scottish Government Budget, as set out in table 8.12 here.

Repair work on the roof of Bute House was completed in September 2023, as reported here.


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