Comhairle nan Eilean Siar welcomes the report from the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee which investigated the construction of two overdue and over-budget ferries to serve the Clyde and Hebrides network. The Comhairle urges Ministers to take on board all the recommendations made in the report.
The Holyrood probe into the construction of two overdue and over-budget ferries to serve the Clyde and Hebrides network has described the management of the process as a “catastrophic failure” and called for a “root and branch overhaul” of the approach to the procurement of new vessels in Scotland.
Commenting on the report, Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chair of Transportation & Infrastructure said: “Comhairle nan Eilean Siar welcomes the report from the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee and hopes Ministers take on board the recommendations made in the report. The harm that the debacle of the contract for these two ferries has done to island economies is a scandal. The Government must not brush this under the carpet.
The Comhairle has called on Ministers to commission an independent review of ferry procurement and strategic direction and are pleased that this is a key recommendation of the Committee’s report. This should be an independent expert led process with proper accountability to island communities.
A dedicated ferry on each of the Minch Crossings could have been paid for from the saving in unnecessary infrastructure costs. This would unlock huge potential to grow the Western Isles tourism sector.
The time has come to accept that ferry services should be managed and delivered by island based staff across the board from the ferry operator, asset owner and Government agency. Real and lasting change is needed.”