Concern grows over Edinburgh Trams 'cover up'

Concerns over the amount of money paid out to consultants for the Edinburgh Trams project and in particular for consultancy in relation to the troubled contract with construction firm Bilfinger Berger have been raised by SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Responding to information released by tram company TIE on bonuses paid to consultants and reports in today’s Sunday Herald that consultancy costs are not the £600,000 previously released by TIE but nearly £16 million Ms Somerville questioned why anyone working on that contract received a bonus and said TIE’s failure to report the full costs was typical of their refusal to answer questions around the contract.  She repeated calls for a Parliamentary inquiry which has so far been rejected by other parties.

“The only people gaining from the tram project are lawyers and consultants while the people and businesses of Edinburgh pay the price.

“Paying any kind of bonus to anyone involved in the Bilfinger Berger contract is completely unacceptable.  That contract has brought the project to a standstill.

“TIE has a lot of explaining to do.  Why are the costs for consultants so high and why did they try to claim they were only £600,000.  TIE has never been open about their costs and now it looks like they have been engaged in a cover up.

“£16 million on consultants is an astounding figure that explains why this project is so ridiculously over budget.  It would come as no surprise if this information was being deliberately held back.

“Every taxpayer has a right to be concerned about the amount of money going into this with absolutely nothing to show for it on the ground".

“Those who want to keep spending ridiculous amounts on a project the people of Edinburgh have never wanted need to get a grip of themselves. 

“Opposition parties who backed this project must accept that TIE have questions to answer and back my calls for an inquiry.  This has gone on long enough.  Parliament has an obligation to get answers from TIE for the money it is spending before key decisions are made in December.  With every passing day we are learning more and more disturbing news about the state of this project and if it cannot be sorted out it must be mothballed and the city put back in order."

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