Summer of discontent on ferries warns Labour

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Scottish Labour has warned of a summer of discontent on Scotland’s ferries after tourism bosses in the Outer Hebrides called on the SNP’s Humza Yousaf to intervene in the delivery of the lifeline transport system.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said that the SNP transport minister must stop procrastinating and provide the vital ferry services promised by his government.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the Gazette highlighted that Outer Hebrides Tourism (OHT) had written to the Scottish Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf detailing their concerns and to invite him to visit the Hebrides.

Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Colin Smyth, said: “This situation beggars’ belief. We have every conceivable economic body and responsible stakeholder calling for the government to stop ignoring the Western Isles communities and provide the life line ferry services that are much needed and were promised.

“But still Humza Yousaf persists in procrastination at the expense of the islanders and the Western Isles’ fragile economy.

“It is astonishing that even government-owned Calmac has now broken ranks and its silence by declaring the fleet is under-invested and that half of the fleet is well past its 25 year life expectancy.

“Incredulously CalMac has warned of “significant breakdown risk” with no contingency in place to deal with that situation. Yet still the SNP, at a local level and a government level, do nothing.

“It looks like a summer of severe discontent is ahead of us, and I too call on Humza to intervene and sort this issue out once and for all.”