First minister's residence Bute House to close for almost five months for 'essential repairs'

The first minister's official residence is to close for almost five months to undergo essential repairs.

Work on Bute House, within Edinburgh's Charlotte Square, will begin on Monday 17 April and is expected to last 20 weeks. It is due to be complete by Friday 1 September.

The A-listed building, which is owned by the National Trust for Scotland, will undergo an external and internal transformation, including stonework and roof repairs, window refurbishment and essential fire safety works.

Meetings of the Scottish cabinet will instead take place at St Andrew's House while the work is being carried out.

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Nicola Sturgeon's successor as SNP leader and first minister will be offered temporary accommodation elsewhere in the capital if needed until the completion of the works.

Ash Regan, Kate Forbes and Humza Yousaf are all in the running to replace Ms Sturgeon following her shock resignation last month.

Voting is currently under way with the new first minister expected to be announced on 27 March.

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As well as the first minister's official residence in Edinburgh, Bute House is frequently used to hold press conferences and cabinet meetings.

The conservation and care of Bute House is delivered through partnership and collaboration between the Scottish government, Historic Environment Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, National Trust for Scotland and the Bute House Trustees.

The repairs follow a routine survey carried out in August and September 2021, which identified work required to maintain the fabric of the building.

The Scottish government said the cost of the programme works, and any alternative accommodation for the first minister, would be published "proactively" once confirmed at the conclusion of the project.