The First Minister has hit out at a north-east politician who criticised the Scottish Government for not funding the Aberdeen Art Gallery project.
It comes after council leaders threw scorn at Holyrood for withholding funding, which they insist was applied for, while financially supporting the recently built V&A museum in Dundee.
In response to a question from north-east MSP and Aberdeen councillor Tom Mason, Ms Sturgeon said it was a “bit rich” for him to criticise the Scottish Government, claiming no request was made for funding.
After welcoming the refurbishment of the gallery, the First Minister said: “This gives me the opportunity to address something that was apparently raised at an event on Wednesday and has been repeated here by Tom Mason in the chamber.
“Let me set the record straight – during the planning or business case phase of this, no approach was made by Aberdeen City Council to the Scottish Government, Historic Environment Scotland or Creative Scotland.
“Aberdeen City Council did discuss funding with Historic Environment Scotland in 2016 after project works had already begun, but they chose not to pursue an application for funding.
“I really do think it’s a bit rich to criticise the Scottish Government for not giving funding when the council in question didn’t ask us for funding.”
But Mr Mason claims Aberdeen City Council wrote to the Scottish Government in December 2016 to directly request funding after they were given £1.5 million from the UK Government.
As the relevant cabinet secretary, Fiona Hyslop responded that the sole method of funding would be through Historic Environment Scotland, which had already been denied due to the project already being under way.
Mr Mason said: “Ms Sturgeon’s complacency is a slap in the face to Aberdeen City Council and its officers.
“Her own culture secretary was asked whether the SNP would contribute to the project.
“She said no, and pointed to making an application to HES, which was done.
“This really shows up the First Minister and the SNP’s lack of interest in Aberdeen and the north-east.”
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In response to Mr Mason’s latest remarks, a Scottish Government spokesman, said: “As the First Minister has made clear, the Scottish Government was never approached by Aberdeen City Council during the planning or business case phase of the project.”
The new gallery will officially open to the public tomorrow and Sunday, but only ticketholders will gain access.
From Monday, regular opening times will be 10am to 5pm from Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 4pm.