Shipyard is ‘ready’ to be nationalised
The Scottish Government is “ready and willing” to take a struggling Clyde shipyard into public ownership, the Finance Secretary has said.
Derek Mackay said it was essential to act without delay to save 350 jobs at the Ferguson Marine yard in Port Glasgow, which announced last week it is poised to go into administration.
Ferguson Marine could soon be in public ownership after the finance secretary said the scottish government is “ready and willing” to take over the struggling Clyde shipyard.
Derek Mackay said it was essential to act without delay after the company said last week it was poised to go into administration, placing 350 jobs at risk.
The government also remains open to other investors to ensure that two ferries are completed at the yard.
Ferguson Marine’s sole shareholder, Jim Mccoll, was strongly critical of the move towards public ownership at the weekend.
He said nationalisation made no economic sense, souring relations between the man who saved the yard from closure in 2014 and the government he once advised.
The firm has been locked in dispute with governmentowned ferry firm Calmac over major overruns on the “fixed cost” £97 million contract.
Mr Mackay said: “Our preference has been to identify viable commercial options to keep the yard going and to finish the vessels. No such solutions have come forward.
“The Scottish Government has now indicated to all relevant parties that we are ready and willing to take Ferguson Marine into public ownership and deliver the ferries to secure the continued employment of the workforce.
“There remains a process to go through to secure the transfer of the yard to the Scottish Government, and we are hopeful that all parties recognise the importance of completing that transfer as quickly and as smoothly as possible.”
Mr Mccoll unsuccessfully sought a deal with the Scottish Government to share the overruns, believed to be almost as much as the £97 million agreed contract cost.
The extra costs have been put down to the numerous changes to the design.
Mr Mccall has warned that nationalisation will cost the government money.
“The way they are acting right now is economically damaging for the local area and Scotland,” he said.
“Anybody with a Standard Grade in economics would be able to work this out, it’s not rocket science.”
He even raised the prospect of legal action, warning that “all options are on the table”.
The government has already controversially loaned Ferguson Marine £45m to help it diversify, including £15m which was initially kept secret.
Tory transport spokesman Jamie Greene hit out at the SNP’S “reckless mismanagement” of the ferry contract.
“The way to secure jobs and the yard’s future is by ensuring that the ferry contract concludes by resolving the dispute over cost overruns,” he said.
“Nationalising Ferguson Marine, even if it is possible to do so, simply raises more questions than answers and offers no certainty to the business at all.
“It’s pretty clear that Derek Mackay has no clue whatsoever what the cost to the taxpayer will be, over and above the tens of millions of pounds already spent on this bungled contract.”
Gary Smith, Scottish general secretary of the GMB Union, argued that the yard did have a future.
“The truth is we are going to have to renew the fleet of Calmac ferries because frankly they’re clapped out,” he said.
“It’s pretty clear Derek Mackay has no clue what the cost [of nationalising Ferguson Marine] to the taxpayer will be, over and above the tens of millions of pounds already spent on this bungled contract”
JAMIE GREENE Tory transport spokesman
0 Derek Mackay said it was essential to act without delay after the firm said it was poised to go into administration, placing 350 jobs at risk