Rennie: Will anyone ever face the music for ferries disaster?  

By Bill Heaney

In days gone by those responsible might well have been keel-hauled or made to walk the plank, but there are no such sanctions available in the 21st century..

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie MSP today demanded Ministers be held accountable for the ferries fiasco.

His plea came after Economy Secretary Neil Gray announced that he had issued a written instruction for the Government to breach public finance rules to get one of the vessels finished.

The Public Finance and Accountability (Scotland) Act 2000 requires any public expenditure to meet the value for money principles, which means that resources must be used economically, efficiently and effectively.

The value for money assessment of Vessel 802 concluded that it would be cheaper to procure a new vessel rather than continue with its construction, forcing Ministers to issue written instructions that government break the rules of good finance to get it finished.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Rennie, pictured right,  said:  “Doesn’t this show utter contempt for this Parliament and for the taxpayer and for the workers and the islanders that the Transport Minister left in the middle of this statement and didn’t even have the courtesy to listen to the questions being answered?

“But who cares? In for a penny, in for a million pounds.  We’ve had eight years of this utter fiasco in which the government has soaked the taxpayer, has betrayed the islanders and has utterly humiliated the workers.

“Yet, we’ve had six [Transport] Ministers in that time. Not a single one of them, including the current First Minister, has lost their job for this fiasco.  Will anyone ever face the music for this disaster?”

Commenting on the Minister’s update on the Ferguson’s Marine ferries fiasco Scottish Labour Transport spokesperson Alex Rowley said:  “A string of SNP Ministers have come and gone, but not one has ever been held accountable for this mess.

“At the heart of this scandal are island communities, shipyard workers and taxpayers being badly failed.  Securing the yard and delivering these ferries is essential – but that is the bare minimum the government needs to do.

“The SNP must deliver these ferries without any more delays or overruns, and set out a real long-term plan to protect the future of the yard.”

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