The Scottish Government has been criticised for putting the Hebrides ferry network
out to tender.
Cal Mac Ferries and Serco went head-to-head for a £1 billion subsidy to run the ferry
routes for the Western Isles and west coast.
Cal Mac won the eight years contract but Cllr Donald Crichton says the government
should have sought an EU derogation earlier which he says could have avoid the need
to run the last procurement exercise.
He welcomes plans not to repeat the exercise which means Cal Mac would be gifted
the contract without inviting any rival bids.
Mr Crichton believes a private ferry firm running the routes would mean less accountability
and more risk to jobs and services.
“These are lifeline services and they need to be delivered safely,” he stated.
Mr Crichton criticised the “totally unnecessary” previous tender which saw Serco
pitch for the west coast routes.
He said: “I am afraid that government ministers were led by civil servants who were
not well disposed to the concept of a publicly owned Cal Mac” resulting in “wasting
public money and a lot of years of negotiations.”
The “uncertainty and threat hanging over Cal Mac employees and the community could
all have been avoid had the government done what they are doing now and approached
the EU for an exemption.”
Government berated for “delay” in seeking ferry exemption