Tuesday, July 06, 2010

New cost estimate for 'withdrawn' Mottram Bypass - £19.6 million

Our old friend John Hall has been doing some digging. He recently requested from the Highways Agency information about the total cost of the original Bypass scheme to date in a Freedom of Information request.

Now you may remember that we have covered pretty much every twist and turn of the issue of costs over the past 3 years. The last time we reported was in May last year, when the accumulated cost was £17,176,000, this figure having leapt up by £1,176,000 in less than 6 months.

In this context, the reply to John Hall's Freedom of Information request in somewhat staggering - the cost now stands at £19.6 million (or £19,600,000 in longhand), meaning that £2.4 million has been added to the costs in just over 12 months. Whether this is as a result of a re-audit of the accounts, or that the abandoned scheme is still accruing costs is unclear, but you may remember that in March 2009, 4NW allowed the Highways Agency £1.1 million over the next seven years towards 'ongoing administrative costs'. For 2009-2010, the HA were apportioned £100,000 for this.

So one way or the other, the costs the scheme seems to have accrued have already swallowed up more than double the next seven years money in 12 months.

Now think about this: the media and politicians keep telling us that there's no money left, and that we must all face cuts to jobs, wages, services etc. At the same time, executive pay is up, banks are still paying bonuses, there's loads of money for useless wars - and the Highways Agency are still swallowing horrendous amounts of money for an 'abandoned' road scheme. You couldn't make it up.

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