More Funding Required to Complete the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry
Edinburgh CityCouncillorsare being forced to allocate another £100,000 of taxpayers cash to cover costs associated with the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry.
Over eight years in the making, the inquiry looking into the botched construction of the city's Airport to York Place line is expected to publish findings in the next six months.
Ironically it comes as tram testing begins on the new extension through Leith to Newhaven, a section which was initially supposed to be completed as part of the first line before the project was scaled back.
Councillors will be asked to grant an additional £100,000 funding for “further funding for both the Inquiry and Tram-related litigations” .
The sum was revealed in secret council documents shared with the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
The report will be heard in private as a 'b agenda' item at full council with limited details set to be discussed during the public session.
The latest request for more funds comes on top of £2.1 million approved by the council in August 2019 to meet legal and other costs associated with the probe which has been led by Lord Hardie.
The Inquiry, funded by Transport Scotland, has cost £13 million – regularly cited as costing more than the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war.
The council said more money was needed to pay for "legal firm fees, ICT system storage and search fees and counsel fees."
Some of the increased costs are associated with ongoing court action by the council against Transport Initiatives Edinburgh, the company set up by the authority to manage the tram line's construction, and DLA Piper, the council's former legal advisers during the project.
The Edinburgh Tram Inquiry has been tasked with finding out why the project was finished five years late, ran £375 million over budget and delivered a significantly shorter line than was initially planned.
The Trams to Newhaven extension due to open in 'spring, 'which is currently running tests with slow-moving 'ghost trams,' was originally envisaged to be built as part of the first scheme before it ran into funding difficulties.
A report said: "Once the Inquiry publishes its report the council and its advisers will need to consider the outcome and recommendations in detail to be able to respond to the findings and implement any recommendations, as well as consider matters in relation to the paused litigation.
"It is therefore recommended that further funding is made available to support this work."