25 May 2012
Consultants working with the SNP on the future of Scotland’s ferry services have received nearly £500,000 in fees, figures obtained by the Scottish Conservatives have revealed.
The payments have been made as part of the Scottish Government’s Scottish Ferries Review between 2009 and 2011.
Following a parliamentary question by Scottish Conservative Highlands and Islands MPS Jamie McGrigor, it was revealed that £440,000 was spent on consultancy fees in relation to the Scottish Ferries Review, with a further £53,000 in fees expected to be paid for the Draft Ferries Plan.
This began three years ago, and still the issue has not been resolved.
Scottish Conservative MSP for Highlands and Islands Jamie McGrigor MSP said:
“The SNP’s ferry review has been like the Neverending Story, and 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 is simply trying to delay making any decisions on the future of ferry services.
“My constituents in the Highlands and 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.
“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.”