Platform: Allan Alstead is fed up with Edinburgh becoming a laughing stock

Dear First Minister: The citizens of Edinburgh – indeed the citizens of Scotland – are appalled by the way that City of Edinburgh Council and TIE, its subsidiary, are wasting public money on the delivery of the trams project.

I am writing this open letter in the hope that the Scottish Government will take immediate action to exercise some badly needed control of the public money which is being wasted.

The sum of 500 million was agreed by the Scottish Parliament as a contribution to the project, and your government stated that "not be a penny more" would be granted. Edinburgh council was to raise a figure of some 45 million, of which a charitable estimate would suggest it has secured about 12 million.

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Of the 500 million granted by the parliament, a very large proportion has already been spent, or committed, while the actual project for which this money was approved has been dramatically reduced in size.

It appears highly unlikely that the tram tracks will be laid further than Haymarket or York Place at best, so those living on Leith Walk will have lost even the promise of future benefits for all the pain, disruption and commercial hardship they have suffered. Where is the scrutiny of the expenditure of public funds that should be ongoing in this type of project? If only half the project is to be finished, then surely only half the government money should be released.

Over-paid executives should not be giving themselves huge bonus sums when the project is seen by everyone in Britain as an unmitigated disaster. Not only have the executives and the council been shown to be incompetent, but they have attracted international criticism and made our proud capital a laughing stock on the world stage.

This foolishness must be halted. I would plead with you to immediately impose very strict audit controls on both Edinburgh council and TIE. We need someone with a really firm hand to grasp this problem and exert strict control.

Yours sincerely,

Allan Alstead

Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport