• STV
  • MySTV

Lothian Buses could pay £20m towards tram extension

The Unite union says the 'risky' move would be 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'.

Extension plans: Project to be discussed by councillors later this year (file pic).
Extension plans: Project to be discussed by councillors later this year (file pic). © STV

Concerns have been raised over a "risky" plan for Lothian Buses to put £20m towards an extension to the Edinburgh tram network.

Members of Unite the union hit out as councillors discussed the 2017-2021 strategy for Transport for Edinburgh (TfE).

The arms-length company, which is wholly owned by Edinburgh City Council, owns 100% of the shares in Edinburgh Trams and more than 90% of the shares in Lothian Buses.

The remainder of the Lothian Buses shares are owned by East Lothian, West Lothian and Midlothian councils.

The strategy said it sets out to "empower TfE and its subsidiary companies" to safeguard Edinburgh City Council's investment in transport across the capital.

The document also includes the Lothian Buses business plan, which acknowledges plans for an "extraordinary dividend" of £20m as well as an annual contribution of £6m to TfE.

Lothian Buses bosses outlined the contribution was a "risk", prompting union members to warn the move would threaten services and prompt an increase in fares.

The city council's executive director of place, Paul Lawrence, told Tuesday's transport committee: "The matter of payment for an annual dividend or an extraordinary dividend is a matter for the board of Lothian Buses.

"Their business plan is a prudent plan, and it also sets out the financial priorities for Lothian Buses."

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1345251-council-to-press-ahead-with-edinburgh-tram-extension-bids/ | default

Mr Lawrence said he would expect the board to examine the risks in more detail ahead of any discussion about extending the tram line to Leith and Newhaven.

The controversial tram project is expected to return to the agenda after the May elections later this year.

Unite regional officer Tony Trench said the plan risked "robbing Peter to pay Paul".

He said: "We support investment in the future of Edinburgh Trams. Our members there are working hard and doing an excellent job serving local people and visitors to the city.

"But that investment shouldn't be at the expense of Lothian Buses. Lothian Buses have been clear - these plans carry risk. 

"If the result is increased fares and cuts to routes and fleet investment, then it is city councillors who will carry the blame."

Unite said there were "more sustainable" ways of raising finance for the project, adding: "Simply robbing Peter to pay Paul is short-sighted and dangerous."

The union also repeated its call for Transport for Edinburgh (TfE) to be scrapped, saying the company's yearly costs of nearly £500,000 cannot be justified.

It said its members had set up a new group to lobby and defend the city's public transport networks.

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1365594-lothian-buses-handover-plan-approved-amid-union-protest/ | default

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This must be at least 6 characters long.
ShowHide
This field is required. This must be at least 6 characters long.
You must be over 16 to join STV.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
We need this to check that you live in an STV region.
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid postcode
Would you like us to email you about our great shows and services from time to time?
We'll only send emails we think you'll like (see example) based on information you have supplied and shows you have watched on STV Player. For details on emails and advertising, see our STV & You page.
Would you like to receive emails from the Scottish Children's Lottery about draws, instant games and competitions?
We support the Scottish Children's Lottery (SCL), which is managed by our colleagues at STV ELM Ltd. You can find out more about the SCL on its website, including its Privacy Policy.

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, and understand our Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.