First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to declare a winner in the battle for one of Scotland’s most famous treasures.
Perth is fighting to reclaim the Stone of Destiny after a 700-year absence.
It is hoped the ancient crowning seat can take pride of place in the new city hall museum, where it could attract an extra 163,000 visitors a year.
Last year, Perth and Kinross Council submitted its official bid for the Stone as part of a Scottish Government consultation.
A counter bid has been submitted by Historic Environment Scotland, which wants to keep the stone where it is at Edinburgh Castle.
An announcement on the stone’s fate was expected to be made earlier this year, but was derailed when the country went into lockdown.
The Courier now understands a final decision could be just weeks away. The ruling will be made by the Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia, a small group appointed by the Queen which counts the First Minister amongst its members.
Perthshire North MSP John Swinney has written to Ms Sturgeon, urging her to help end uncertainty and deliver a morale boost to the Fair City.
He said he has been campaigning to get the Stone back to Perthshire since 1996.
“Understandably, the significant challenges posed by Covid over the past nine months has meant that confirmation of the Stone’s future has been delayed,” Mr Swinney said.
“Whilst there is still much work to do in our efforts against Covid, the rollout of a mass vaccination programme means that there is now light at the end of the tunnel, and that we can begin to imagine a post-pandemic society.”
He said: “After such a tough year, it would be a real boost to the morale and economy of Perth if we were to receive confirmation that the Stone will be returning to its ancestral home.
“To that end, I have written to the First Minister to ask for an update on the progress of this decision, and to emphasise once more my strong support for such an outcome.”
Local SNP MP Pete Wishart said the decision could be “absolutely vital” to Perth’s ambitions to become a top destination city.
“I am confident that the city hall project will be a significant driver of economic growth and I am hopeful that it will attract other investment into the city,” he said.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Commissioners for the Safeguarding of the Regalia expect to make an announcement about the location of the Stone of Destiny in the near future.”