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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Edinburgh Tram Rip Off - Herald Letter (but they leave out the bit about it being the civil servants & politicians fault

  This letter in Today's Herald. It went out to all and sundry so I don't know if it will appear elsewhere as well:

Back in 2007 we were told that the Edinburgh tram project was a "fixed price contract". Subsequently legal action by the contractors led to a decision that 90% of the cost overruns on the elements in question were because of changes made by the officials at TIE. It appears that TIE have not decided to face any further legal action.
In May this year we were told that £411 million had already been spent and the next day that it was £440. Now we are told that cancelling it will cost £750 million and continuing £700 million.
It may indeed be true that TIE's meddling is responsible for at least 90% of the cost overruns but even then I fail to see how stopping the fixed price contract can involve the contractors in more legitimate expense than actually completing the work will. I would welcome some assurances but only from somebody who has not previously assured us of the success of the project/
In any case nobody involved should ever have a job in the public sector which gives them responsibility for 1 penny of public money and that includes the politicians.
When Muir-Russell took the fall for allegedly keeping from Ministers the fact that the Scottish Parliament building costs were also out of control (something evident to everybody else) he was given numerous well paid public jobs by these same politicians. Ultimately he was asked to chair the enquiry into the Climategate leaks & the hiding of the decline in global temperature where he duly found that nobody in charge was guilty of any serious wrongdoing and that the politicians had certainly not known. I would like to think that this will not be repeated.

Ref - "fixed price" and the rest

- costs given in May
Bits in bold were edited out. The reference to TIE being found in court 90% responsible for the overrun comes from this Herald report so it is perhaps surprising that the Herald felt uncomfortable about repeating it.
I can understand the deletion of the stuff about Muir-Russell as it is not immediately part of the tram project. However it is directly relevant to the pattern of a political culture where covering up incompetence or fraud (there was certainly fraud in the Parliament scandal since Dewar made a specific promise it would cost only £490 million which was clearly dishonest).
After all it is the job of the media to support those in power by playing down their incompetencies, frauds and thefts isn't it?

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