Ferries Resilience Fund

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 25th April 2019.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

First, I accept that the delays to the two new vessels 801 and 802 are greatly disappointing. That is a matter of record; I have said so myself. The Scottish Government is concerned to ensure that those vessels are delivered soon so that we can introduce them to the fleet to provide more capacity. That will help enormously with the need to cascade vessels across the Clyde and Hebrides routes, and is an objective that I am sure we all share.

However, I challenge Mr Greene’s assertion that communities are being let down on what he appears to suggest is a routine basis. I acknowledge that there have been difficulties. [

Interruption

.] Mr Greene might complain from a sedentary position, but I am trying to respond to his question. Let us not forget that CalMac has a very good record otherwise. It has high levels of customer satisfaction despite the issues that I acknowledge have happened in the past year, which are not satisfactory and must be addressed—I am not running away from those. However, let us not detract from the fact that, generally speaking, CalMac delivers a good service to communities. It is recognised as a lifeline service and its staff work very hard on behalf of the communities that it serves. I ask Mr Greene to reflect on the tone of his question, but I accept that there are issues that must be addressed.