Still no report

Edinburgh Tram inquiry will cost £13 million

Edinburgh tram
The tram was five years late (pic: Terry Murden)

An inquiry into why the Edinburgh Tram was delivered late and over-budget, will cost more than £13m and has still not produced a report, Transport Scotland has projected.

The hearing began in June 2014 into the £400m overspend on the project which and was completed five years late.

The latest figures on its costs were provided following a Freedom of Information request from the i newspaper to Transport Scotland which show that the vast majority of the £13.100,812m has been spent on staff and legal fees.

Staff costs are due to reach more than £6m by the end of this financial year, while legal fees are projected to hit more than £3m.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We have agreed to continue to fund the costs of the Edinburgh Trams Inquiry until it is completed, final costs will be published when they become available.

“Staffing matters, including how many people the inquiry employs and how much they are paid, are a matter for the inquiry. This is because, as a statutory inquiry, it is independent of Scottish government.

Leith Walk
Work is nearing completion on the extension through Leith to Newhaven

“The Edinburgh Tram Inquiry was, of course, established to look at how any mistakes or failures could be avoided in future major tram and light rail infrastructure projects and we look forward to receiving Lord Hardie’s findings when they are made available.”

The Labour-led Scottish executive, the former name of the Scottish Government, first proposed a network of tram lines in 2003 with an estimated cost of £375m. The SNP minority government in 2007 intended to to scrap the project, but was outvoted.

When the first trams began operating on the 8.7mile (14km) route in May 2014, the total cost of the project had reached £776m.

Commenting on the delays in publishing a report, Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said: “The final submissions to this inquiry were received in 2018, yet the public inquiry is somehow still in progress – siphoning off millions of pounds of public money in the process.

“It shouldn’t be too much to ask for Edinburgh residents to get the answers they deserve out of this inquiry, while also delivering value for money for the taxpayer.”

An extension to the tram to Newhaven is on budget and on schedule to be completed by the end of the year, with services beginning in the spring.

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