THE bill to taxpayers for running the Scottish Parliament needs to rise by an unprecedented £16million next year, MSPs will hear next week.

In a submission to Holyrood’s finance committee, the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), the parliament’s cross-party board, said a 16.9 per cent budget hike was required.

The increase will take the combined revenue and capital budget into nine figures, up from £94.6m to £110.6m.

The budget for 2021/22 had already been due for an above-inflation rise of £7.4m, or 7.8%, due to additional security measures and an election contingency fund of £3m.

However a further £8.6m is now needed, including £5.8m for increased staff costs to cope with a surge in MSP casework during the Covid crisis, and £2.6m to pay the Electoral Commission for work on the 2021 Holyrood election and the 2022 council elections.

The latter is a new devolved responsibility.

The SPCB submission said that, despite fewer people working at Holyrood and more use of IT during the pandemic, the temporary changes were proving “more rather than less expensive and it is unlikely to be a linear process back to normality”.

Earlier this week the SPCB said the “staff cost provision” for each MSP would rise from £93,900 to £129,700 next year to cover an additional full-time position.

Some MSP offices are currently seeing 15 to 20 new cases each day.

The SPCB also forecast a £2.5m drop in its revenue and capital budget in 2022/23, but admitted this was “highly caveated” because of “currently unquantifiable pressures”, including wage and pension costs.

A planned 5.1% rise to the basic £64,470 wage for MSPs next year has already been scrapped as “wholly inappropriate” given the economic pain caused by Covid.