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'No more Holyrood money' for Edinburgh tram scheme

There will be no more government cash for the troubled Edinburgh trams project, Scottish finance secretary John Swinney has said.

He claimed the Holyrood government, which has already poured £500M into the scheme, would not offer further funding even if the project needed to be rescued.

Swinney said: “I’ll contribute the finances the government has said it will contribute, not a penny more, absolutely not a penny more, not even to rescue it.

“It’s costing £500M, there’s a lot of houses we could have built for £500M, a lot of schools, a lot of transport connections.”

He added that the project will see a “profitable and successful” bus route replaced with a tram line at a projected cost of £545M.

The bus route runs from the west of Edinburgh to Leith.

He said: “I didn’t think that was a good use of public money. I went to Parliament and I said I didn’t think it was a good use of public money and Parliament voted against me.”

Swinney added that in 2007 he had revealed his position on funding for the project.

He recalled: “I said ‘don’t come knocking on my door for any more money’. I was crystal clear that was my position then and it remains my position now.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Having visited Edinburgh while the work in the city centre was underway I suspect that most of the increases in cost lies with utility diversion works. This was quite easy to forsee and could have been avoided had trolley buses been adopted intead of trams. Modern trolley busses are capable of disconnectiing from their overhead wires and running round obstructions or route diversions. Had trolley busses been adopted there would have been no need for such extensive accommodatiion works.

    The Edinburgh Tram Project, which incidentally is now to be curtailled to about 50 per cent of the originally intended route, was obviously politically driven just as is the Glasgow Airport Rail Link. Both a waste of money which, as Swinney says, could better be spent elsewhere eg dualling stretches of trunk road.

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