Magazine article Public Finance

SNP Asks Auditors to Review Transport Project Costs

Magazine article Public Finance

SNP Asks Auditors to Review Transport Project Costs

Article excerpt

Scotland's auditor general, Bob Black, is to review the cost projections of controversial airport rail link and tram plans for Edinburgh before a final decision is made on whether the projects should go ahead.

Finance Secretary John Swinney announced the decision this week. He has asked Audit Scotland to 'review the process used to assess costs and risks to delivery' of the projects, which are expected to cost more than £1bn.

The tramway plan and separate rail airport links project were agreed by the former Labour and Liberal Democrat administration at Holyrood. But the Scottish National Party, which is well short of a maj ority in the Scottish Parliament and needs the support of other parties to get its policies through, had an election manifesto commitment to scrap both schemes.

It is now under pressure from Labour and the LibDems to press ahead with the plans. Work has already started on the tram project and the firm developing it, TIE (Transport Initiatives Edinburgh) believes it would cost £114m to scrap the scheme.

Announcing the review, Swinney said: 'My priority is to protect the Scottish taxpayer and ensure that any major transport project is value for money, delivering real benefit to the travelling public and the Scottish economy. …

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