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Watchdog to probe Edinburgh tram accounts

Edinburgh’s troubled tram project was referred to the city council’s spending watchdog committee last week after officials released two different sets of project costings.

The project’s referral comes after Edinburgh councillor Cameron Rose questioned the budget breakdown in a council update on 25 October.

“Something in these figures and aspects of the table did not ring true,” Rose told NCE.

The council stated that the project was on track to meet its revised cost of £776M and completion date of 2014.

But, its cost breakdown was challenged in a council session on 25 October by Conservative council leader Cameron Rose.

The figures stated that cost of work done (COWD) on sections which do not run on the streets stood at £310M and on street at just £19M up to 15 September

On street section

Rose said the work done on the on-street sections such as Princes Street was “clearly more” than the £19M stated.On

Rose also expressed concern that utility diversion costs were stated at only £14M. He also questioned the £256M project management costs.

At the council meeting the council’s transport convener Lesley Hinds said it was likely that the cost of re-doing some defective work on the street running section had been included in the costs of off-street construction. She said that overall the project was on track.

But she referred the project to the council’s governance, risk and best value committee - its spending watchdog - at Rose’s request.

The council last week released a more detailed cost breakdown with different figures.

The cost of completed on-street works was revised up to £28.7M against a total budget of £38.8M.

Off-street work costs were revised down to £87.1M against a budget of £148.8M. A new category called “other infrastructure costs” was also introduced. These were £230M against a budget of £232.5M.

The utilities relocation budget had increased to £87.6M with £85.7M already spent.

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