In preparation for the resumption of the Inquiry into Construction and Procurement of Ferry Vessels in Scotland, on Wednesday 26th August, Scottish Ministers have published a detailed written submission.
It is well worth a read. It shows the extent of the cash-flow problems at FMEL, the significant delays to the schedule, and the huge budget implications now passed to the taxpayer. Given that all of the equipment for the vessels has already been purchased, the estimated budget to complete the two vessels is now at least twice the original £97.5m contract price. Some estimates put the final budget at circa £300 million. This appears to be a remarkable cost over-run on the construction and fit-out elements of the build project.
An updated report on the schedule and budget is expected to be published in due course, however Ministers have now missed the requested deadline from the REC Committee of 14th August.
We expect publication prior to the evidence session with Paul Wheelhouse MSP (Minister for Energy, Connectivity & the Islands) and Fiona Hyslop MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture).
Arran Ferry Action Group have one principle question that we hope the Inquiry will answer:
'Does completing 801 still represent the shortest lead-time and lowest cost option to deliver a new vessel to the Arran route?'
The current state of our lifeline ferry service shows it is not fit for purpose in terms of reliability, resilience and infrastructure. The Arran Ferry Action Group is a new and fully representative lobbying group, set up to represent Arran interests in demanding service improvements and accountability in future investment decisions.