– in the Scottish Parliament on 6th October 2022.
8. To ask the Scottish Government when it anticipates a conclusion to the Edinburgh tram inquiry. (S6O-01443)
Questions concerning the conclusion of the inquiry, including its timeline, are a matter for the Edinburgh tram inquiry team and Lord Hardie. That is because, as a statutory inquiry, it is independent of the Scottish Government. Updates on the publication of Lord Hardie’s report will be provided on the inquiry’s website.
I thank the minister for that answer and I respect what she has to say, but the Edinburgh tram inquiry has now been running for over eight years. To date, it has cost Scottish taxpayers £13.1 million, and the end is still not in sight. The cost of the inquiry now stands at more than the cost of the Iraq war investigation.
The Inquiries Act 2005 obliges the chair to consider costs at all times if they are funded from the public purse. I ask the minister a very simple question: does she believe that the inquiry has been value for money?
We are all keen to see the inquiry reach a satisfactory conclusion. I am advised that Lord Hardie and the inquiry team have been preparing the final report and recommendations for publication. I will again seek advice on the parameters that are open to me, as a minister, in the matter, but I must remind the member that the inquiry is independent and that its time and cost cannot be influenced by ministers, who are, of course, core participants in the inquiry.