Edinburgh tram fiasco: Why there should not be an inquiry into the inquiry – Scotsman comment

The tram link from central Edinburgh to the city’s airport ended up costing more than twice as much as planned for a substantially shorter route.

For all the cost overruns and delays, Edinburgh's trams provide a pleasant way to travel (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
For all the cost overruns and delays, Edinburgh's trams provide a pleasant way to travel (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

So it was understandable that the Scottish Government decided to set up an inquiry to find out what went wrong.

More than eight years later, the nation still awaits its findings and, by the end of this year, it is set to have cost the taxpayer a whopping £13.1 million.

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This is only slightly less than the bill run up by the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War and, with another £500,000 set aside by the Scottish Government to cover any further costs, it looks set to eclipse the amount spent on that weighty issue.

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The head of the tram inquiry, Lord Hardie, has made it clear he will not be rushed, saying the process will take “as long as is necessary”.

However, as much as we can see the merit in finding out exactly what went wrong, there has to be a point at which the Scottish Government, as the keepers of the public purse, eventually steps in to say “enough is enough”.

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Edinburgh trams: Inquiry due to cost same amount as Iraq war investigation, docu...

The inquiry has now effectively increased the runaway cost of the tram link by more than one per cent, adding noticeably to one of the problems it was set up to address. It has also been going on for longer than it took to actually build the tram link.

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Given the spiralling costs and delays, it is the sort of issue that would lead to calls for an inquiry to find out what went wrong.

So, anyone for a Tram Inquiry Inquiry? Thought not.

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