Since John Carson (Letters, 9 January) is a respected civil engineer whose comments about the disaster of the Edinburgh trams have always been accurate, we should have no reason to doubt his recent computation on the costs, despite an opinion by Audit Scotland in 2007 that the council’ s figures were“robust ”.
The desperate attempts by the authorities to dress losses up as profits have become habitual over the years. The original cost of a Scottish Parliament building was at one time pitched at a mere £10 million. The official numbercrunchers eventually admitted that the cost might come in as high as £500 million, and when it was signed off at £430 million it was declared to be “under budget”.
The London Olympics is another case in point. In her book Called to Account Margaret Hodge stated: “We hosted a brilliant Olympics in London that came in within budget.” The “official” final cost of £8.77 billion was a far cry from the £13 billion cited by the Games Monitor website, but even that seemed a touch on the light side compared to a Sky Sports investigation which factored in related transport upgrade costs, taking the total to £24 billion.
The earliest projected figure of around £1.8bn cited in a joint report by Ove Arup and property consultants Insignia Richard Ellis was nowhere near any of these outcomes, needless to say. To paraphrase the words of Humpty Dumpty in Alice Through The Looking Glass, “a budget shall mean just what I choose it to mean; neither more nor less”.
DAVID J BLACK
Glanville Place, Edinburgh