17th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

‘Opportunistic’ government blasted over ferry contract decision

Green MSP John Finnie has accused the Scottish government of adopting an “opportunistic” attitude after it was announced the contract for the Northern Isles ferry service will be put out to tender.

Mr Finnie, the party’s transport spokesman, had argued that the ferry service should be taken into public ownership to benefit North Isles communities.

Last week transport minister Humza Yousaf said that won’t happen. He said part of the reason for his decision was the stance taken by Shetland industries, particularly the seafood sector, which showed no appetite for the route to be nationalised.

That approach has not impressed Mr Finnie who has written to the minister outlining his concerns.

The Green MSP said: “The Scottish government’s opportunistic approach means a publicly-owned service, run in the interest of communities in Orkney and Shetland, is effectively kicked beyond the next election. I won’t allow this important issue to be brushed aside, and I hope the minister agrees to sit down and discuss the details.

“Public ownership of our vital transport services is fundamental. Commercial providers do not have a good track record when it comes to levels of service, and the sooner the government realises this the better for our communities.”

• More reaction to the ferry contract announcement in this week’s Shetland Times.

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