Gas and electricity bills for Scottish Prison Service soars by 47%

Concerns were raised by the Scottish Prison Service ahead of the budget being set out.

Gas and electricity bills for Scottish Prison Service soars by 47% iStock

Gas and electricity bills faced by the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) have increased by 47% in the last year.

In a written submission to the Scottish Parliament, the service outlined their concerns ahead of the Budget being set out by John Swinney.

Teresa Medhurst, SPS chief executive, indicated that the rise in the prices for gas and electricity over the last 12 months had created a “significant pressure” on the SPS’ budget.

The service is a large user of electricity, using over 30 million kilowatt hours per year – the equivalent to running 10,500 average-sized homes.

Among other cost pressures outlined by Medhurst is prisoner food, with costs rising on average by 16.8% over the last year.

She noted however that there is “significant pressure” from suppliers for further price increases over the next six months which she suggested could see the annual inflation rise to up to 30%.

An ageing prisons estate was also highlighted, with forecasts including plans to £8m per year to cover both preventative maintenance.

The expenditure is considered the “minimum required”, the chief executive noted.

HMP Glasgow is the largest capital projects currently being undertaken by the SPS, with the second state of procurement expected to conclude by the end of 2023.

On staffing costs, the report stated that delivery of a flat cash offer would require restraint on pay increases with a review of the current “employee operating model”.

Holyrood’s Criminal Justice Committee will hear evidence on Wednesday from prison service officials, the courts service, as well as the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service.

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