THE final cost of the inquiry into Edinburgh’s trams project has passed the £10m mark.

Official figures show the bill has risen by around 50% since hearings began a year ago.

In September 2017, the cost was £6.9m, then rose to £8m in January and £9m in July.

A freedom of information request release from the Scottish Government has now put the cost to date at £9.7m and the estimated final cost at £10.7m.

The majority of the money has gone on staff costs and “professional fees”.

Lothians Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “This is yet another increase of an inquiry that has clearly lost all control of costs. Taxpayers will be further incensed as more and more of their money goes to this ill-conceived project.

“The cost of the Tram inquiry is rapidly becoming  as controversial as the Tram project it is meant to be investigating. At this rate we will need an inquiry into the costs of the inquiry!”

The Edinburgh tram line was opened years late in 2014 and cost £776m for a shortened route - more than double the original budget.

The government announced an inquiry under senior judge Lord Hardie the same year.

Then First Minister Alex Salmond promised it would be “swift and thorough”.

However Lord Hardie, the former lord advocate, did not started hearing oral evidence for another three years, in September last year.

More than six million documents are being examined as part of the probe, but it will not hold anybody legally responsible or financially liable.

A spokesperson from the Edinburgh Tram Inquiry said: “Throughout the Inquiry, all efforts have been made to ensure it delivers best value for the public purse.

"We continue to make good progress towards producing the final report and recommendations.”