A charity has criticised the Scottish Executive for spending £1.7m on a new headquarters at Inverness for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Peter Loutit, chairman of Inverness Citizens Advice Bureau, said it was wrong to pay for the building when his organisation was struggling to finance its own services. "It is all very well to fund property as long as you've got the money to fund services," he said.
Loutit added that many CAB offices were inadequate for their purpose, but there was no prospect of them getting new premises. He said government seemed to regard volunteering as a non-cash proposition, failing to recognise that volunteers placed a cost burden on their host organisations.
SCVO's windfall comes at a time when other local charities are struggling to fund services. The Highland Dyslexia Association has become insolvent, and Voluntary Action Inverness was wound up last year after the Scottish Executive cut its £25,000 grant.
A SCVO spokesperson said that 10 unnamed voluntary sector organisations would share the new building. "The money will enable us to house a new voluntary sector hub in Inverness," he said.