Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has sought clarity from Scottish Ministers on the likely financial costs of Calmac’s legal challenge against the government’s decision to award the Northern Isles Ferry contract to Serco Northlink.
During General Questions today (Thursday), Mr McArthur described Calmac’s legal challenge against the government that funds it as a ‘remarkable spectacle’. He also questioned the Islands Minister, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, about the likely legal costs to both Calmac and the Scottish Government as a result.
In response, Mr Wheelhouse expressed regret that Calmac has chosen to go down this route but stressed that he could not go into detail since the case is still sub judice.
Following the exchange, Mr McArthur commented:
“This contract has been beset by problems. It is already over 18 months late, with further delay and uncertainty now inevitable.
“Most people in Orkney and Shetland will be left baffled at the remarkable spectacle of the Scottish Government being taken to court by its own ferry operator.
“The Minister was unable to clarify the likely costs of this legal action but it is clear that taxpayers will be left picking up the tab for both sides in the dispute. That cannot, however, lead to funds being drawn away from the delivery of these lifeline services. Scottish Government need to provide a cast iron guarantee that this will not happen, as well as ensuring any further delays are kept to an absolute minimum.”