Edinburgh Council declines to re-establish arm’s-length trams company for inquiry

Council leader Andrew Burns
Council leader Andrew Burns

The City of Edinburgh Council has refused to re-establish an arms-length company to provide evidence for the Tram Inquiry headed by Lord Hardie.

The council, which has earmarked £2 million for its participation in the inquiry, said re-establishing Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE), as requested by Lord Hardie, would not be a “justifiable expense”.

According to the council, such a move would involve appointing new officials as well as providing them with legal representation.

However, the council has promised to provide information about TIE’s role in the development of Edinburgh’s embattled tram scheme.

The inquiry is due to begin at a preliminary hearing in Waverley Gate on Wednesday 19 August 2015.

The inquiry’s remit is to establish why the Edinburgh Trams project incurred delays, cost more than originally budgeted and through reductions in scope delivered significantly less than projected.

Council leader Andrew Burns said: “The council continues to support the inquiry, as it has done so throughout, and to be fully open and accountable.

“By applying to be a core participant we have committed to playing our part in the proceedings and co-operating fully with the inquiry.

“However, we do not believe the considerable cost of reviving for the sake of the inquiry is a justifiable expense, one which would ultimately be borne by the Edinburgh taxpayer.

“The council is the ultimate parent body of Tie, and we have communicated our willingness to provide information about its role to the inquiry.”

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