Lib Dems react as Jim McColl attacks Scot Gov ferry handling

Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie has today called for NDAs signed by staff at Ferguson Marine to be waived, as the former owner Jim McColl issued a series of criticisms of the Scottish Government and its handling of the ferry fiasco. 

Giving evidence to the Public Audit Committee Jim McColl: 

  • Said that it was “absolutely nonsense” for the government to suggest that anything negative would have happened to the yard had the contract for the ferries not been awarded,  
  • criticised the Scottish Government’s turnaround director Tim Hair for removing senior officials and changing specifications in a way that contributed to cost overruns, 
  • said he was given assurances that his alternative to a full builder's guarantee was acceptable by the then Transport Minister Derek Mackay. 

Responding, Scottish Liberal Democrat economy spokesperson Willie Rennie said: 

“The SNP have claimed for months that nationalisation was the only solution and defended their decision to overrule advisers who warned that a full builder’s guarantee was not in place. This is certainly not the view of Jim McColl. 

“This evidence suggests that the Government’s own turnaround guru Tim Hair gutted senior staff and allowed specifications to change in ways that racked up huge bills. 

“We need to see NDAs waived so that staff who are in the know can speak out. Unless we get to the bottom of this sorry saga, businesses will begin to think twice before getting into bed with the Scottish Government. 

“This ferry fiasco has left island communities high and dry. We also need a full public inquiry and a commitment from ministers to offer their resignation if there are more delays and cost overruns.” 

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