BBC Scotland is claiming that a ‘confidential’ document they have obtained shows that the disaster hit Edinburgh tram scheme will be ‘profitable’ within three to four years.
The state broadcaster, whose Scottish HQ is based in Pacific Quay Glasgow, say that the document reveals that the beleaguered scheme will deliver “important financial, social and environmental benefits”.
BBC Scotland says that the report, to be published Today (Friday), has been kept secret until now and that “its authors believe the economic arguments in favour of pushing ahead with construction are compelling”.
The report’s conclusion is apparently based on an initial scaled down line from Edinburgh Airport to St Andrew Square rather than all the way to the city’s waterfront as originally planned.
The Edinburgh trams project was thrust upon the fledgling SNP government within months of them taking office in 2007 after Unionist parties united in order to force it through. At that time the Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson was attacked for suggesting that documents showed “costs were running out of control” for the project.
Current Lib Dem leader, and then his party’s finance spokesman, Tavish Scott claimed in 2007 there was broad support for bringing back trams to Edinburgh and challenged the government to produce the advice that led Mr Stevenson to make the claim.
Since then the scheme, costing an initial £500 million, has been plagued with problems and escalating costs that have led to serious disputes between Edinburgh council and the main contractor Bilfinger Berger.
BBC Scotland’s ‘revelation’ comes only days after Mr Stevenson gave an apology for the lack of communication following the severe weather conditions that hit Scotland’s central belt on Monday. The Scottish government and BBC Scotland have disagreed on the accuracy of forecasts provided by Pacific Quay and the Met office.