It has been revealed that the City of Edinburgh Council spent £3.3 million on consultants for the Trams to Newhaven project in the 2020/21 financial year – a figure which has attracted criticism for its scale. In total over £10 million was spent on consultants on a variety of projects in the Scottish capital.
The consultants fees have covered a range of activities in relation to the project including Project and Commercial Management Services, Technical Advisory and Design Services and Project Director, Community Consultation and Project Assurance Services.
Cllr Rob Munn, Finance and Resources Convener, said: “We recognise that the short-term specialist expertise of consultants helps us to deliver key projects as efficiently as possible. It is important that we consistently monitor our spend and this report outlines the latest costs. It is, largely, thanks to the number of major capital projects this Council is successfully progressing for our communities – including important developments like the new state-of-the-art Meadowbank sports centre, much-needed new homes right across the city and investing in our primary and secondary schools – that we have a requirement to engage these specialists.”
However, the TaxPayers’ Alliance have suggested that more cost effective solutions can be used to fulfil this role rather than the huge spend on consultants. Joe Ventre their digital campaign manager said: “Consultants can add value to projects, but they shouldn’t be relied on when more cost-effective solutions are available. The local authority must ensure it’s using every penny wisely and keeping costs down for council tax payers.”