South Uist Ferry Cancellations

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8 June 2023.

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Photo of Douglas Ross Douglas Ross Conservative

I am not sure that the First Minister grasps how critical and urgent this is. He says that he will keep an open mind and that he recognises the problems in South Uist, but his answer was almost verbatim the answer that he gave to Donald Cameron two weeks ago about the issues affecting islanders on Mull.

These endless cancellations are leaving businesses in despair and costing jobs, so let us go back to South Uist. One islander, Gary Young, said that takings in his business were down 70 per cent since the ferry service was cancelled. However, the issue is about more than the damage to the economy. The disruption goes far further than that. Mr Young said:

“The ferries are affecting me at my work and family life.”

He added that his son has allergies and they are forced to wait for medication to arrive, and he gave this stark warning:

“It has made us question how long we’ll stay on the island.”

The SNP’s failures risk driving people away from island communities, so does the First Minister recognise that it is not only businesses that need compensation, but everyone who has had their lives turned upside down by the cancellations?