Calls To Scrap Edinburgh Trams

Edinburgh City Council's Deputy Leader says he wants the tram project scrapped even though it'll cost more to get rid of it than partially complete.

A report to be presented to councillors today is expected to advise that the project will cost at least £700 million to complete as far as Haymarket station, on the outskirts of the city centre and two-thirds of its original projected length, and up to £50 million more to scrap.

Steve Cardownie, deputy leader in the Liberal Democrat/SNP controlled council, today called for the project to be scrapped.

Former Labour lord provost Leslie Hinds also hasn't ruled out voting for the project to be scrapped.

Ms Hinds, who was lord provost when the project was piloted through the council by the former Labour administration, said the trams are "a disaster - but not from day one".

She added, "If you look at the Audit Scotland report that came out in June 2007, when the SNP/Lib Dem council and the SNP Government took over, it gave it a clean bill of health."

She also rejected accusations that the tram project was forced upon the council by the pre-2007 Labour Government at Holyrood and called for an inquiry into how it was allowed to overrun.

She added, "What happened in the Scottish Parliament, which is what happens in a democracy, is Parliament agreed to go along with this project, and the SNP, in my opinion, just threw their toys out the pram and said, `Here`s your #500 million - you get on with it`, and took no responsibility."

When asked whether she believed taxpayers should pay to take the tram project to completion, she said, "I don`t know, to be honest, until we have got the report in front of us and scrutinised the figures, because I am shocked by the figures that are being banded around.

"For the last four years the SNP and the Lib Dems have been in control of this contract, and we need to have a review and we need to find out why we are in this situation, because I feel ashamed to be a member of the council and to be in Edinburgh, where we are a laughing stock."