Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has called on the Scottish Government to provide further clarity on the timetable for re-tendering Orkney’s lifeline shipping contract.
The call comes in response to the Transport Minister’s announcement today of a delay to the Scottish Government’s policy review looking at the future procurement ferry contracts.
The Transport Minister attributes the delay to the need to further consider the full impact of EU state aid rules. The policy review, announced in February this year, was originally planned to finish in the autumn.
Following the announcement, Mr McArthur said:
“The Scottish Government appears to be suggesting that there will be a further delay in re-tendering Orkney’s lifeline shipping contract but there is no clarity about the extent of that delay. I have therefore written to the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf asking him to set out in more detail his revised timetable.
“Mr Yousaf does at least recognise that Orkney and Shetland have a different perspective from the west coast, which I welcome. I am not sure that a Calmac/RMT service run by civil servants in Edinburgh will produce a better service for Orkney and Shetland. Meantime, this internal government exercise has already lasted 5 months with still no end in sight. The sooner we have clarity the better for all involved.”