The Scottish Government spent nearly £30,000 to rent a flat for just five months for the First Minister.

Urgent repairs meant Humza Yousaf was forced to move out of Bute House, his official residence, just weeks after winning the SNP leadership contest.

The grade A-listed Georgian townhouse in Edinburgh's Charlotte Square, needed a number of windows refurbished, and work carried out on the roof and masonry. 

Essential fire safety work was also carried out on the building.

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According to the Scottish Government, the decision to close Bute House between April and September meant work could be carried out "in the most cost-effective way possible".

Holyrood was in recess between July and September, which would likely have meant fewer receptions and functions. 

However, that will also raise questions about why the Scottish Government needed to spend £6k a month on accommodation for Mr Yousaf.

The Herald: First Minister Humza Yousaf pictured today in Bute House

The report states that a “number of properties were reviewed” and a three bedroom flat in central Edinburgh with sufficient living space for the First Minister and their family was the “best fit in terms of cost, security and size".

A breakdown of the costs shows that £5,400 was spent on “fees for property search and advice,” while another £2,035.20 was spent on legal fees to secure the five month letting arrangement.  The total cost of rent from 2 June to 31 October was £19,813.70, roughly £3,962.74 a month.

The council tax came in at £1,877.77 and end of tenancy fees were £420. That brought the total cost to £29,546.67.

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Meanwhile, the final bill for the work to Bute House came in at  £856,307.59.

The Scottish Government is responsible for all repairs and maintenance as a condition of the lease agreement with the National Trust for Scotland.

The building, which was previously used as the official residence for the Secretary of State for Scotland, is also used for Cabinet meetings, official engagements, receptions and meetings.

Lib Dem MSP Willie Rennie said: "Even by Edinburgh standards, £30,000 for just five months of accommodation seems extremely expensive.

"The First Minister obviously has particular requirements but this seems like it has been a pretty generous payday for the owners and the firm tasked with finding suitable accommodation.

"The Scottish Government need to be ensuring they are delivering value for money for taxpayers."

Tory MSP Miles Briggs agreed. He said: "Humza Yousaf was lucky to find somewhere to rent, given the housing emergency declared by Edinburgh City Council – which the SNP’s disastrous rent cap has helped cause.

“But at £6k per month, it certainly didn’t come cheap to the taxpayer. At a time when his government is slashing budgets – including on housing – and hiking taxes to fill the black hole the SNP’s financial mismanagement has created, this will stick in the craw of hard-pressed Scots."