Report finds costs of Borders railway hidden from public

Borders Railway line still being worked on at Stow.
Borders Railway line still being worked on at Stow.
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The public and MSPs have been kept in the dark about the changing costs of the Borders Railway project, an Audit Scotland report has said.

Caroline Gardner, the auditor general, has also criticised the Scottish Government for failing to demonstrate that long-term spending on several transport infrastructure projects is affordable.

Following publication of the review of the Borders Railway project and four other major schemes, Jim Hume MSP said: “This report shows that delays and rising costs to the Borders rail project are a mess of the government’s own making.

“As the report makes clear, Transport Scotland’s failure to ensure that business cases were complete and up to date at all stages has meant that it has been difficult to assess the affordability of the project.”

He added: “For too long people in the Borders have been granted a patchy picture of plans for the Borders rail project. We need to see a clear timetable for delivery.”

Ms Gardner’s report stated that the lack of a full business case at various points meant that the ‘viability, value for money and affordability’ of the project had not always been fully demonstrated.

The report added: “Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government need to improve their public reporting of infrastructure projects.”

However, it did find that the railway was on schedule and on course to be built within the most recent budget estimate of £353 million.