THE First Minister’s official residence will be temporarily closed for four months to allow essential repairs to take place.

As the SNP leadership contest enters its final week, the Scottish Government announced that Nicola Sturgeon’s successor will be without an official residence at the start of their term in office.

With the results of the contest due to be revealed on Monday 27 and the next first minister installed by MSPs on Tuesday 28, whoever becomes SNP leader will only have access to the A-listed residence until Monday April 17 when it will close for repairs.

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It is understood the works on the Georgian townhouse in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, are expected to conclude on Friday September 1 after 20 weeks of repairs, with the building shut for around five months. 

As well as being the FM’s official residence, Bute House is frequently used to hold press conferences, media briefings and Cabinet meetings.

The drawing room is also used to welcome visiting dignitaries and ministerial receptions, and the Dining Room is used for more formal occasions such as state dinners.

The National: Press conferences are frequently held by the FM in Bute HousePress conferences are frequently held by the FM in Bute House

The Scottish Cabinet will meet in St Andrews House instead during the duration of the works, and working arrangements and accommodation for the next first minister are currently being organised.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The repairs have been advised by specialist surveyors, following a survey of the building’s stonework and roof which identified work required to maintain the fabric of the building.

“The repairs are being coordinated by Scottish Government contractors MITIE.”

A survey on the stonework and roof was carried out in August and September 2021 and identified numerous repairs which had to be made.

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The Scottish Government said to “ensure best value for money” the work was expanded to include window maintenance, upgrades to external doors and internal fire safety.

The cost of the works has not yet been revealed, with the Scottish Government stating the figure would be released “proactively” after the works are completed.

Bute House has been the official residence of Scotland’s FM since 1999. While the living quarters include a small office, the FM has two other offices, one in St Andrew’s House, at Scottish Government HQ, and the other in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood.