Recommendations on Ferry Services Welcomed

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed a series of recommendations made by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee on Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services as part of a pre-budget scrutiny.

In a letter to the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, the Committee stressed It is essential that lifeline ferry services deliver services that are truly fit for purpose and that fully meet the needs of island communities, business needs and tourism.

The letter addresses the following points:

Investment strategy for the fleet, including making vessels and port infrastructure more accessible, flexible and achieving value for money.

Road Equivalent Tariff (RET)

Current procurement and EU State Aid rules

Community engagement in procurement and investment decisions.

The Comhairle contributed significantly to the Committee’s deliberations and the Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure, Cllr Uisdean Robertson, said:

“These recommendations are broadly to be welcomed and re-inforce the case that the Comhairle has been making in our own discussions with Scottish Government, CMAL, and CalMac.

"I particularly welcome the Committee’s recognition that recent consideration of The Islands (Scotland) Act highlighted the value and contribution our island communities make and that the Committee is aware of the vital importance of ferries as a lifeline service and a linchpin for the ongoing sustainability of island communities and economies. It is also of significant import that the Committee is seeking confirmation from the Scottish Government on whether it intends to complete an Islands Impact Assessment on this year’s budget."

The full recommendations (») of the REC Committee are available to download