Edinburgh tram boost from tax proposals

 Edinburgh tram boost from tax proposals Edinburgh tram boost from tax proposals
Edinburgh city council is thought to be considering a scheme with the Scottish government to share future taxes on businesses to help fund future expansion of the city’s tram system. It follows concerns that new lines may have to be axed unless additional funding can be found.

Councillors appear to be promoting an idea that’s already widespread in continental Europe. In places like Germany taxes paid by businesses are shared between central and local government. But in the UK only a fraction of the money collected is spent locally. It has been estimated that in Edinburgh the move could provide up to £60million.

The city council is expected to launch a feasibility study into the tax-sharing concept. Officials are hoping that it will provide the necessary funds for a future tram line which would run from Haymarket in the city centre to Granton passing through Edinburgh’s waterfront area. It is claimed that the line would boost regeneration opportunities.

Meanwhile there has been yet more controversy over the construction of the first tram line in the city. Track-laying work is due to begin in Princes Street, one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. Councillors in Edinburgh have voted to allow the whole street to be closed for a large part of next year to allow work to be completed.

Plans would see the road re-opening to traffic in time for the Edinburgh Festival and then close again until the end of November. Tram promoter TIE  maintains the alternative options would mean that the tram works would take longer to complete, ultimately causing more disruption.