No information on cost update for delayed ferries

MSP Donald Cameron is concerned about additional costs to the public purse due to the build delays.
MSP Donald Cameron is concerned about additional costs to the public purse due to the build delays.

The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse MSP was unable to update Parliament this morning (Thursday) in regards to concerns over additional costs resulting from the build delays to two new CalMac ferries.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron had asked the Minister if there would be additional costs as a result of the delayed ferries currently under construction with Ferguson Marine, and if so, how much.

The Minister was unable to provide the figures, noting that he would contact Mr Cameron separately to provide him with an update.

The delay will see one vessel designated for the Brodick to Ardrossan route delayed until 2019, and another vessel designated for the Uig ‘triangle’ delayed until 2020.

Donald Cameron MSP has been contacted by a number of constituents who are worried that the delay will mean worsening capacity issues, and loss of income to rural island economies.

Mr Cameron said: “The Scottish Conservatives welcome the investment in new vessels, but the public has a right to know if taxpayers’ money will be required as a result of these lengthy delays, and if so, what those additional costs might be.

In his answer, the Minister was eager to grandstand about the fact the orders were made in the first place.

“But island communities do not want to hear boasts from the SNP Government. They want to know when these much needed ferries will be ready, and how much it will cost the public purse.”