- Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSPFirst Minister of Scotland
Order a Public Inquiry into the Edinburgh Trams Project
The Edinburgh Trams Project was meant to deliver three new public transport routes across the City. Instead, for an "official" budget of £776 Million, the City only managed to build one.
Unfortunately, The Edinburgh Trams Project was fraught with maladministration, delays and overspends. The circumstances of which were all kept secret and away from public view.
Additionally, at a time when both the City of Edinburgh Council and the Scottish Government were pushing through cuts to essential public services - used by the most vulnerable - public money continued to be allocated to the Edinburgh Trams project.
The cost of the Edinburgh Trams Project works out at around £1800 for every resident of the city.
During construction, the City Centre and the peripheral areas became a building site, lasting for over 6 six years.
The residents and businesses of Leith endured heavy disruption in particular. But as a direct consequence of the maladministration, don’t have the Tram line they were promised.
Politicians and public officials have consistently resisted calls for full disclosure of the Edinburgh Trams project finances and administration. This lack of accountability and lack of transparency has infuriated the public.
In June 2011, and as a result of growing public pressure, Kezia Dugdale MSP for the Lothian region, challenged Alex Salmond MSP, the First Minister of Scotland, to convene a public inquiry.
Alex Salmond agreed that a Public Inquiry would be "an excellent thing to do" but to date, has done nothing to follow through.
The Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP, also stated in writing on the 14 October 2011 that the Scottish Government will be "delighted to have a public inquiry into the problems surrounding this [edinburgh trams] project" and would do so when "the full circumstances could be examined"
The Citizens of Edinburgh and of Scotland have the right to ask questions of their politicians and public officials. The public also the right to a full count and reckoning concerning the project as a whole.
The £776 Million spent has to be properly accounted for.
Lessons also have to be learned concerning how large scale, public infrastructure projects of this type are procured, managed and audited for public value.
The public, having endured cuts to their essential public services, rightly expect nothing less.
If lessons are not learned from the Edinburgh Trams Project, there is a real risk that we will all pay the price again in the future.
The Tram Line opens on Saturday 31st May 2014.
The circumstances are now right, there can be no further excuse for delay.
It’s now time for the Public Inquiry.
- First Minister of Scotland
Rt. Hon. Alex Salmond MSP
Order a Public Inquiry into the Edinburgh Trams Project
The Edinburgh Trams Project had an "official" final budget of £776 Million. This amounts to approximately £1800 for every resident of the City of Edinburgh.
However, this Project was fraught with maladministration, it suffered for internal contractual disputes, it was delayed by at least three years and did not deliver the three public transport routes promised.
The circumstances surrounding the Project continue to remain shrouded in secrecy.
Politicians and public officials are reluctant to be drawn on questions concerning the finances or the administration of the project.
The lack of transparency and poor financial management of this project is damaging to Edinburgh and Scotland as a whole at a time when our Country is in the spotlight.
The public and businesses in Edinburgh are angry and have tried to seek answers for years.
During the past seven years, we were repeatedly asked to endure cuts to essential public services because of financial constraints yet at the same time the Edinburgh Trams Project was allowed to spiral out of financial control.
The beauty of the City was ruined when the city centre and peripheral areas were turned into a building site.
The people and businesses of Leith endured years of road works and many businesses lost out because of a downturn in footfall trade.
The Tram does not even reach Leith as originally planned.
In August 2011 you stated that a public inquiry would be an "excellent thing to do". This commitment was backed up, in writing, by the Transport Minister, Keith Brown MSP.
He stated that your Government would be "delighted" to convene a public inquiry when the "circumstances are right".
The Edinburgh Tram becomes operational on Saturday 31st May 2014.
The circumstances are now right for a public inquiry yet your Government has not taken any steps to order a public inquiry as promised.
The citizens of Edinburgh and of Scotland have the right to ask questions about the Edinburgh Trams Project as they do of any large scale public expenditure project.
The public also expects a full count and reckoning concerning this project as a whole.
It is clear that lessons have to be learned from the Edinburgh Trams Project in order to improve the management and financial auditing of future public works.
The Referendum on Scottish Independence takes place in September this year. The eyes of the world are on Scotland and the Scottish Government is under international scrutiny.
Order a public inquiry now. Honour your Government's commitment to the people of Edinburgh and the Citizens of Scotland.
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