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Ministers can’t expect Orkney to pick up the full cost of new ferries, says McArthur

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has pressed the transport minister, Keith Brown, on the need for Scottish Government investment in new ferries for the outer North Isles.

Commenting afterwards, Mr McArthur said he was disappointed to hear the minister “repeat claims that this is ultimately for OIC to resolve.”

“Given the open seas in which these vessels operate, the procurement costs are significant.  The same class of vessels also serve the Western Isles, but the bill there is picked up by the Scottish Government.

“It is not good enough for ministers to argue that Orkney Islands Council should either raid its reserves or borrow more to meet these costs.  With the additional £433m of capital funding available to them, thanks to the recent UK Government autumn statement, it is time for the transport minister to reach a reasonable and equitable settlement with the council to ensure these much-needed vessels can now be procured.”