ANGELA Constance has told MSPs the cost of the new prison in Glasgow to replace Barlinnie will now exceed £400 million.

The justice secretary gave the update to a Holyrood committee today.

Originally the price tag for the new facility was put at £100m, but earlier this year The Herald revealed it had risen to £400m.

Pressed by Tory justice spokesman Russell Findlay this morning, Ms Constance would not put a new figure on the project but said she was "confident it would exceed £400million."

READ MORE: New Barlinnie prison costs and timings dropped by Scottish Government

Mr Findlay asked: "They’ve [Scottish Prison Service] previously put a figure on HMP Glasgow, a potential figure, of £400 million. 

"They now seem reluctant to speculate until next year when the plans are complete....I just wonder if the Scottish Government have any indication as to how much this might come in at, a worst case scenario or a best case scenario?"

Ms Constance: "So I am not going to speculate because I don’t think that is helpful. I will say it will cost more than £400 million I am confident of that."

READ MORE: Humza Yousaf to probe £300m extra costs in replacing Barlinnie

Audit Scotland previously confirmed that the cost of the new prison in Glasgow to replace Barlinnie was originally £100 million. Dharshi Santhakumaran of Audit Scotland told Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee earlier this month: "I think the estimate is that it has gone from £100 million to £400 million."

In June this year The Herald revealed that the project was facing delays and price increases with the estimate of cost put then at £400m and would open in 2026.

The 130-year-old prison is the largest in Scotland, housing around almost a fifth of the country’s 7,700 inmates. 

It is usually 50% over capacity, meaning over-crowding is endemic, with the poor physical state of the building requiring millions to be spent on refits and repairs each year.

HM Inspectorate of Prisons for Scotland has described the five Victorian accommodation halls as “not fit for purpose” and in need of “significant investment”.

Speaking after today meeting of the justice committee, Mr Findlay said: “The justice secretary’s jaw-dropping admission that HMP Glasgow will cost more than £400million requires a full explanation.

“She still can’t say when this long-awaited prison might open. But we do know it is already four times over budget and will end up costing even more than the SNP ferries fiasco – joining a long list of key infrastructure projects marred by incompetence and squandered public money.”