Last month, Highlands and Islands MSP, Edward Mountain, made a written request to a Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny (PAPLS) Committee to investigate the use of public money at the Cairngorm Mountain resort.
Jenny Marra MSP, PAPLS Committee Convener, noted the request and replied: “the focus of the work of the Committee is to consider and report on the reports of the Auditor Generals. In terms of its public audit work, the Committee is unable to initiate its own enquiries.”
She continued: “Audit Scotland undertakes annuals audits on around 200 public bodies, including HIE. Following the annual audit process, the Auditor General may determine that there is a need to draw certain issues to the attention of Parliament.”
“If the Auditor General decides to publish a section 22 report on the 2018/19 audit of HIE, then the Committee will be undertaking its usual scrutiny of that report.”
“In the meantime, I understand that Audit Scotland’s 2018/19 audit of Highlands and Islands Enterprise is ongoing.”
Edward Mountain MSP welcomed the response and commented:
“I believe it is important to raise the issue of financial management at the Cairngorm Mountain resort with the Scottish Parliament’s PAPLS Committee.
It is clear that serious questions still need to be answered by the Scottish Government, HIE and the previous operators of Cairngorm Mountain as to how the resort fell into such difficult times.
Local feelings are running high and there is a level of distrust in all those who have been involved in the management and running of Cairngorm Mountain.
Strathspey needs Cairngorm Mountain to have a long-term and sustainable future, but for that to happen lessons need to be learnt from the failures of the past.
I continue to press for an inquiry and I look forward to the publication of Audit Scotland’s annual audit of HIE.”
The Public Audit Committee previously investigated the construction and operation of the funicular railway almost a decade ago following an Audit Scotland review of the Cairngorm Mountain in October 2009.
Audit Scotland confirmed on 23 March 2019 that they are considering Cairngorm Mountain’s finances as part of their annual audit report of HIE.
Link to the Public Audit Committee’s Review of Cairngorm Funicular Railway, 3 March 2010: https://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/PreviousCommittees/18677.aspx
Link to Audit Scotland’s Review of Cairngorm funicular railways, October 2009: http://www.audit-scotland.gov.uk/report/review-of-cairngorm-funicular-railway
Link to Audit Scotland and Cairngorm Mountain finances story, 23 March 2019: