Jamie McGrigor, Highlands & Islands Conservative MSP, has criticised the SNP government after it confirmed it has spent almost half a million pounds on consultancy costs on its review of Scotland’s ferry services.
The figures are revealed in two written Parliamentary answers to questions tabled by Jamie McGrigor. The Transport Minister reveals £440,600.00 was spent on consultancy fees in relation to the Scottish Ferries Review in 2009-2011 while consultancy fees in relation to the Draft Ferries Plan are expected to be in the region of £53,000.00, making a total of £493,600.00.
Speaking today Jamie said:
“ My constituents in the Highlands & Islands will be shocked that Ministers have spent almost half a million pounds of taxpayers money on consultancy fees in this review of ferry services. Many will feel this money would have been better spent supporting the communities in my region which depend on lifeline ferry services.
“ The SNP government’s ferry review has been like the Neverending story. Sadly it is a story that is costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds. First we had the Scottish Ferries Review then after a number of years a Draft Ferries Plan. While consultation is important, many constituents think that the SNP are simply trying to delay making any decisions on the future of ferry services.
“ At this time of pressure on public expenditure, Ministers will find it hard to justify this very significant expenditure on consultancy fees and so will my constituents.
“ During the 2007 election campaign the SNP promised two new vehicles ferries for CalMac on the Dunoon-Gourock route. Where are they? Indeed there are two new ferries coming but they have been nought and paid for by Western Ferries who are unsubsidised and the subsidised route has been reduced to a passenger only service. On top of the this we have the current potential debacle of the Northern Isles ferry service tender so all this money spent on consultancy fees adds insult to injury.”
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