By Lucy Ashton
The “shambolic” roll out of Ferguson ferries has cost taxpayer £10 million more than previously calculated and up to £30 million more in extras could yet be required, according to a letter to ministers.
David Tydeman, the Managing Director of Ferguson Shipbuilders, across the River Clyde in Port Glasgow, said in a letter to government ministers that he “regrets” to inform them that previous figures were “significantly understated”.
He “apologised” for the inaccurate figure and added in the letter that emergency “contingency costs” could hit just over £30 million.
This cost covers the completion of the Glen Sannox and Glen Rosa. The yard’s boss has told MSPs that the delivery date for the second ship has been pushed back by three months, to March 2025. Broken down, the cost of the two ferries will be £240 million- £130 million for Glen Sannox and £110 million for Glen Rosa. Extra costs are broken down by up to £12.1 million for the Glen Sannox and £18.5 million in contingency costs for Glen Rosa.
The news has been branded “simply disgraceful” by political opposition and a “disappointment” by the Scottish Government.
The two ships, which were meant to cost £97m, are now 3.5 times over budget and will be delivered six years late and the latest news revealed that the passenger capacity of the ships may also be reduced from 1,000 to 852.
Scottish Conservative shadow transport minister Graham Simpson MSP, said: “The SNP’s shambolic handling of building these two new lifeline ferries means taxpayers money is continuing to be wasted on an astonishing scale.
First Minister Humza Yousaf and Scottish Conservative shadow transport minister Graham Simpson who is calling for a public inquiry.
“Successive SNP transport ministers have betrayed islanders time and time again. It is simply disgraceful that it has been confirmed that they will now have to wait even longer for one of these vessels to be delivered, with the 802 ferry now set to be seven years late.
“Every update from Ferguson Marine involves more costs for the taxpayers or a further slip on the endless delays island communities have had to suffer. The consequences of the ferry fiasco have been devastating for residents and the local economy in the areas affected.
“Serious questions must be asked as to why these costs were not included by David Tydeman when he updated the committee only three months ago. Since then costs have spiralled by a further £10 million, bringing the total cost for the two ferries to £368.5 million and counting.
“Added to that, the yard faces a very uncertain future as we don’t know if the government is prepared to invest any more money into it. We need an answer to that quickly.
“These ferries must be delivered without any further delay and with costs to the public purse kept to an absolute minimum. Then Humza Yousaf must stop ducking responsibility and agree to a full independent inquiry into this shameful waste of money.”