THE newest addition to Scotland’s prison estate will cost around £70 million more than previously estimated.

HMP Highland – which will be built in Inverness – will cost taxpayers £209m, with Justice Secretary Angela Constance blaming the cost-of-living crisis, Brexit and inflation for increased costs.

The 200-capacity facility – which will house more than 100 more prisoners than the current HMP Inverness – was estimated to cost £139.5m in a document released by the Scottish Government in January.

The National: The full artist's impression of the Highland prison facility The full artist's impression of the Highland prison facility (Image: Scottish Government)

Constance said: “Signing this contract marks a significant milestone for the Highlands, which will not only provide much-needed additional capacity and continue the modernisation of Scotland’s prison estate but will also provide investment and jobs to the area.

“HMP Highland will deliver safe and secure accommodation with better education and health facilities to help with rehabilitation and reduce offending.

“It also means more prisoners will be accommodated locally, improving family connections and access to courts and legal representatives.

“As with all large-scale national construction projects, Brexit, high inflation and supply chain issues have had an impact on the initial estimated costs, which we have been working hard with the prison service and suppliers to keep to a minimum.”

But the Scottish Government claimed some £60m in supply chain investment will be created in the building of the new prison, to be carried out by construction giant Balfour Beatty.

READ MORE: Scottish prison HMP Kilmarnock comes into public ownership

Linda Pollock, deputy chief executive of the Scottish Prison Service, said: “With the support of the Scottish Government, we are committed to investing in our estate to create better environments for people to live and work.

“HMP Highland will not only increase the capacity previously available at HMP Inverness, but also provide space for quality rehabilitative work which we know gives people the greatest possible chance of a successful return to their communities on liberation.

“This project has so far seen the creation of new jobs and apprenticeships for the local area, with more to come in future.”