Inquiry into ‘cosy’ contractors

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LOTHIAN and Borders Police and auditors Deloitte have been brought in to investigate allegations of employees cosying up with contractors, accepting unauthorised freebies including trips to lapdancing clubs and holidays and displaying favouritism in selecting the contractors to use for building works.

Contractors have been accused of underbidding on repair works to secure jobs, cranking up the price of building works and charging for sub-standard and sometimes non-existent works.

A report is due later this month to provide an update on the situation.

Edinburgh has also been affected by dangerous and costly scrap metal thefts in recent months.

Repairs and maintenance in schools and other council buildings has been scaled back to only those deemed “essential” after city chiefs were forced to pay out more than £177,000 as a result of metal thefts.

Bosses said that the cost of repairs to damaged buildings meant that the city-wide repairs budget had been severely affected, leading them to limit their building maintenance programme.

Other buildings affected include supermarkets, churches and masonic halls, and even manholes and lampposts have been targeted.

In August the council announced buildings would be given a “forensic identity” with a special UV paint and others covered with dummy metal.