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Tram contract held Edinburgh Council 'to ransom'

Edinburgh tram 3x2

Edinburgh’s troubled tram scheme contract was ‘‘ridiculous’’ and a ‘‘poor deal’’ for the city council but extending the current line could show that lessons have been learned, an inquiry was told.

The contract was slammed for allowing contractor Bilfinger Berger to ‘‘hold its employer to ransom’’ on the project, which ended up millions of pounds over budget at £776M and was completed three years late. 

The council said plans to extend the tram route further could offer an opportunity to show that past lessons have been learned. 

“If I may paraphrase a recent pronouncement by President Trump, this was a contract which was ridiculous and should never have been made. It was a terrible contract for tie, and by extension a terrible contract for CEC,” Douglas Fairley QC told the inquiry.

“The change mechanism procedure within the contract was clunky, it was cumbersome and it was at best productive of extensive delays,” he said. 

“An unintended effect of that was to allow a contractor, if it had a mind to do so, to hold its employer to ransom.”

The inquiry was chaired by Lord Hardie who was appointed to investigate what went wrong on the scheme. The public hearings concluded today in a process that has taken almost a year and cost £9M.

A report will be published on the findings of the inquiry but a date has not been set.

 

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