Keir welcomes trams announcement

Posted on 10/11/2014 by

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Colin Keir MSP for Edinburgh Western has welcomed the news that the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry has been converted from a non-statutory to a statutory enquiry.

trams messThe Scottish Government has placed the inquiry on a statutory footing which will compel those involved in the Trams project to give evidence following a request from the enquiry chair Lord Hardie.

Mr Keir said: “This is great news that the Scottish Government has acted on the advice of Lord Hardie to convert the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry from a non-statutory to statutory status. It is shocking that there has been a lack of co-operation by some of those who were involved in the project, this is clearly unacceptable.

“As the cost has risen to frightening levels over the years, surely the residents of Edinburgh – as well as taxpayers beyond the city boundaries – are entitled to know why this project became a financial liability and embarrassment to the city.”

The Scottish Government announced that the trams inquiry is to become statutory last Friday. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon instructed the conversion under the Inquiries Act 2005 after Inquiry Chair Lord Hardie advised that the Inquiry is not receiving the participation it requires.

Making the Inquiry statutory will allow Lord Hardie to compel the production of evidence, the participation of witnesses and enable a robust final report to be prepared. The change in status is not expected to affect the cost or timescale of the Inquiry.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It was the view of the Scottish Government that a non-statutory inquiry with the co-operation of those with knowledge of the project was the simplest way to ensure the swift answers that people want.

“Lord Hardie has however now reported a lack of co-operation by some, which is clearly unjustifiable. I have therefore given the Inquiry the statutory powers he has requested to ensure that the necessary evidence is secured and a robust final report produced.

“Lord Hardie has assured me that converting the Inquiry to a statutory basis will not increase the costs and time required as he had intended to apply similar procedures. I continue to attach great importance to an inquiry that is quick, efficient and cost effective.”

tram-001The Inquiry’s Terms of Reference are threefold:

  • To inquire into the delivery of the Edinburgh Trams project (‘the project’), from proposals for the project emerging to its completion, including the procurement and contract preparation, its governance, project management and delivery structures, and oversight of the relevant contracts, in order to establish why the project incurred delays, cost considerably more than originally budgeted for and delivered significantly less than was projected through reductions in scope.
  • To examine the consequences of the failure to deliver the project in the time, within the budget and to the extent projected.
  • To otherwise review the circumstances surrounding the project as necessary, in order to report to the Scottish Ministers making recommendations as to how major tram and light rail infrastructure projects of a similar nature might avoid such failures in future.
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