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Tavish wants clarification on ferries

Tavish Scott.

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has urged the Scottish government to come clean on what exactly is in the new northern isles lifeline ferry service contract.

Final contract negotiations with the government’s preferred bidder Serco are currently on hold after rival Streamline lodged a legal challenge, earlier this month.

The company argues that the multinational outsourcing specialist has been made preferred bidder on the basis of providing a poorer service to the isles.

Rumour has it that Serco plans to run one of the two freight ships just for some months during the year.  The company has been unable to clarify the situation because they are bound by a confidentiality clause imposed by the Scottish government.

Following a day of legal argument before the Court of Session on Friday, Lord Malcolm is expected to rule on Tuesday whether the suspension of the current negotiations will be lifted or not.

On Monday, Mr Scott said: “Shetland must tomorrow know what shipping service we are getting. A High Court judge now knows more than Shetland about the ferry contract that we depend on every day of the year.

“This position is unfair. No matter who wins tomorrow’s legal battle, Shetland residents and businesses must be told by the Scottish government what is in the contract.

“It is now very clear that Serco have bid with one less freight vessel than Shetland currently has for part of the year. Shetland needs to know how that can work. It’s the Government’s job to end this uncertainty and they must do it tomorrow.”