Ministers seek help
PwC hired on £200k deal to advise on ferries fiasco
Unfinished work on the ferries at Ferguson Marine
The Scottish Government is spending an estimated £200,000 on business advisers to help it resolve the delayed Ferguson Marine ferries contract.
Ministers have hired big four accountants PwC to sort out the ongoing dispute which has held up work on the part-built vessels.
Scottish Labour MSP Colin Smyth said: “The Scottish Government’s ferry fiasco continues with the cost to the taxpayer spiralling even further out of control.
“With the cost of the contract now double the original price and the ships still not part of the fleet, serious questions need to be asked about the Scottish Government’s woeful handling of this project.”
Mr Smyth told the Daily Record: “We could be building twice as many ferries as we are had this not been badly mismanaged.”
Jim McColl: critical of government
First Minister Alex Salmond brought in engineering tycoon Jim McColl six years ago to save the Clyde shipyard.
Ferguson Marine secured a £97m contract from the Government-owned Caledonian Maritime Assets to build two ferries.
However, a row over escalating costs put the project on hold as Ferguson Marine plunged into administration and was put up for sale.
Three commercial offers were rejected and the Government took the shipyard into public ownership.
A Government loan has since been written off but it has been said that a further £100m will be needed to complete construction.
The PwC consultancy, which runs until March, is said to be worth £20,000 a month.
The delay and dispute has led to a deterioration in relations between the SNP government and Mr McColl, one of its key advisers who last week added further criticism by saying there was a lack of business expertise among ministers.
The ferry contract is one of more than a dozen unfinished projects highlighted by Daily Business earlier this month. Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, was asked if they would form part of the government’s recovery plan for the economy but an answer has not yet been forthcoming.
Responding to the PwC appointment, a Scottish Government spokesman told the Record: “This professional advice is important in supporting the Scottish Government in making sound commercial decisions about the continuing operation of Ferguson Marine, an industrial business now in public ownership.
“This contract continues to provide us access to commercial advice as we look to securing a sustainable future for the business.”