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Edinburgh Trams: Councillors 'misled' by Tie officials

Ex-council leader says there were deliberate attempts to withhold information.

Edinburgh Trams: Lawyer challenged Donald Anderson's claims.
Edinburgh Trams: Lawyer challenged Donald Anderson's claims. Transport for Edinburgh

A former council leader has said councillors were "misled" about key parts of the Edinburgh Trams project.

Donald Anderson said officials from the arms-length company Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (Tie) "deliberately denied access" to information about the project.

He was giving evidence at the judge-led Edinburgh Trams inquiry on Wednesday, which aims to establish why the £776m project was delivered years late and over budget.

Mr Anderson led Edinburgh City Council between 1999 and 2006.

He told Lord Hardie's inquiry that key figures should have been given access to information about adjudications in a dispute with contractors in 2009 but were instead given "interpretations" about what was going on.

'I do firmly believe that elected members and senior officers of the council were misled.'
Donald Anderson

Mr Anderson said: "I think there was an attempt to maintain on the part of Tie an interpretation of the adjudications that was much more positive than was actually justified by the adjudication results themselves.

"So in that sense, I do firmly believe that elected members and senior officers of the council were misled."

Mr Anderson made the comments in exchanges with Douglas Fairley QC, who is representing various individuals listed as core participants in the inquiry.

The lawyer presented several documents which he suggested challenged Mr Anderson's previous assertion that Tie had portrayed lost adjudications as being successes to senior council figures.

Mr Anderson replied: "What I can tell you (is) that senior elected members and officers of the council were entitled to get access to the information they needed to make informed decisions about one of the biggest projects, and most controversial projects, in the city's history.

"And they weren't given to access to that information, indeed they were denied and deliberately denied access to that information by officials on Tie."

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1397177-tram-problems-known-months-before-councillors-told/ | default

Addressing the hearing at the end of his evidence, Mr Anderson said many of those connected to the trams project care about the city and wanted to do their best.

"I do understand the need to hold all those accountable who were involved in the tram process, myself included in that," he said.

"I would say that I know a lot of the key protagonists in this pretty well and that those are people who care passionately about Edinburgh and wanted to do their best on the part of the city."

Lord Hardie said he would take account of all of the evidence and form his own view of the situation.

The inquiry is due to continue hearing evidence for several months and has already reviewed more than six million documents.

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