Monday, 2 May 2011

Taxpayers could pay £71m as guided bus total almost £187m

The spiralling cost of building Cambridgeshire’s Guided Busway is expected to reach almost £187 million and taxpayers cost be left to pick up a staggering £71 million.

Liberal Democrats have revealed the final figures just days after contractor BAM Nuttall handed over the project to Cambridgeshire County Council two years late.

The figure includes the cost of rectifying outstanding defects and fighting the case through the courts.

It is broken down as follows:

  • £151,154,389 for the Potential Final Account to the Employer – BAM Nuttall’s settlement figure on handover.
  • £29,680,331 for non-contractual costs including land and supervision.
  • £5 million allowance for legal costs.
  • £1 million plus for rectifying outstanding defects – although this is only a (cautious) Lib Dem estimate as the actual figure has not been calculated.

The county council has £92.5 million from central government plus £23.5 million anticipated income from developer contributions making a total of £116M to payfor the busway.

This leaves it almost £71 million short which could be left for the taxpayers to fund if the county council loses the court case. Although losing 100 per cent of the court case in unlikely, the figure shows the scale of risk which keeps growing.

Lib Dem transport spokesman, Kilian Bourke said: "The cost of the busway just keeps creeping upward.  When is it going to stop?"

"The Conservatives promised the scheme would come in at £116M and that "not one penny of taxpayers' money" would be spent on it. Now we learn that the global cost of the project, including lawyers' fees, will come to £187 million and that the local taxpayer will be liable for up to £71M if the Tories lose the court case outright.

"This is unlikely to happen but the scale of the risk is monumental and losing even part of the case could leave taxpayers massively out of pocket. i just hope the Conservatives' gamble pays off and they win the case hands down."