TRAM chiefs have been castigated for wasting almost £400 on a fake cake that nobody could eat.
Despite ongoing anger at the £750m cost of the scheme and the £2m inquiry into what went wrong, councils officials ordered the giant tram “cake” for a first anniversary PR picture.
The city’s transport chief, Cllr Lesley Hinds was photographed earlier this year pretending to cut into the replica of a tram.
But the council has now admitted that the “cake” was just a frame, thought to be metal or plastic, covered with icing.
Even more bizarrely, the council added the cost of a real sponge cake to the bill so that 200 officials and tram staff at the birthday party had something to eat.
In response to a Freedom of Information request, the council admitted: “The tram birthday cake shown in the media and on our website was not actually a cake but a frame made in the shape of a tram covered in icing.
“A sponge cake was made in addition to this which was shared between 200 people.
“The complete cost for the ‘tram’ cake, the actual cake and the delivery of both was £380.”
Both cakes were made by 3D Cakes in Edinburgh – a company which specialises in bespoke designs.
A spokesman for TaxPayer Scotland said: “Forget the cake – you have to wonder what the brains of the officials who approved this spending are made of.
“Only government bureaucrats could conspire to spend hundreds of pounds on a cake you can’t eat.
“After the seemingly endless delays and hugely over-budget expense of building the tram system, taxpayers will be livid at further funds being blown on what amounts to a photo opportunity.
“It betrays a careless attitude to the value of taxpayers’ money, and that must change.”
Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Alex Johnstone said that there was “little to celebrate” about the tram system.
“Normal hard-working taxpayers will be alarmed to hear that their cash contributed to a PR stunt intended to make the City of Edinburgh Council look good.
“Many commuters and local businesses will feel that there is little to celebrate about the tram fiasco, and yet again the council has misread the public mood.”
In Leith Walk, Edinburgh, which was dug up and then filled in after that section of the line was cancelled, residents expressed their anger at the fake cake.
Patrick Langan, 50, said: “I find it quite bizarre that a cake would cost that much. Someone has clearly made a bad decision. There is pressure to be creative these days but someone just got carried away.”
Elaine Balloch, 49, said: “I can’t believe that cake wasn’t real, what a load of chancers.”
And Priscilla Cairns, 59, said: “It makes me angry – it’s such a waste of money.”
The 8.7mile (14km) tram route cost the council £776m – double the original predicted price.
There has been public outcry from the start of the project, with residents protesting against road closures and disruptions.
There has even been a £2m public inquiry launched to establish why the project incurred delays, cost more than originally budgeted and delivered significantly less than it was projected.