RUSSELL RAISES NEED FOR INFORMED COMMUNITY INPUT TO CAL MAC TENDER “FROM THOSE WHO USE THE SERVICES”

Argyll & Bute MSP Michael Russell, who is the constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament representing most CalMac routes, has called for the views of experienced ferry users and island communities to be heard during the current dispute and tender process.

Mr Russell was questioning Transport & Islands Minister Derek MacKay, who was delivering an emergency statement in the Parliament about the current strike.

Speaking after the statement, Mr Russell said:

“My constituents will have welcomed, I am sure, the Minister’s definitive, clear and comprehensive statement which went a long way to demolish the very damaging mischief-making and misrepresentation about these matters currently coming from the Labour opposition, and some others.

“However it is vital that the Minister ensures that the tender process – which is regrettably a necessity under European Law – emphasises experience and quality of service and not merely price.

“Accordingly the new and very welcome stakeholder group which the Minister announced and which will add further accountability and transparency to the tender process must be chosen from those who use ferry services all the time and who know from their own experience what is needed on a daily basis by those who rely absolutely on publicly funded ferry services.

“Cost to the Scottish Government is not the key issue – quality, capacity, frequency and reliability of service are all more important issues.”

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