Monday 25th August 2014
As we go to press, a week on from the announcement that Ferguson’s shipyard would close, there have been four parties who have expressed interest in taking over the company.
Indeed, it is expected that a preferred bidder will be announced by the administrators early this week. The First Minister Alex Salmond has also conveyed his high hopes that a new owner will be secured.
These are positive developments and a vote of confidence in the yard, the workforce and the future. But nobody will be celebrating just yet.
Only when a new owner is confirmed, only when the workforce is re-employed, only when new contracts are secured, and only when the Scottish Government confirms that it will support long-term investment in Ferguson’s, will the ‘Save our shipyard’ banners be taken down.
In the meantime, in my role as the constituency MSP for the area I will be keeping up the pressure on the First Minister to ensure all the agencies that are under his control share his ambition to secure the future of shipbuilding in the lower Clyde.
While the prime focus for now is rightly on getting the yard up and running again, the workers and the Port Glasgow community understandably want a number of questions to be fully answered.
Why did CalMac Ferries and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd fail to place orders for further ferries that were expected following the successful builds of MV Hallaig and MV Lochinvar? Why was the yard allowed to slip into receivership?
And, why, when the government were made aware of the financial difficulties at Ferguson’s eight months ago, where they left in the dark all this time? The workforce and the Port Glasgow community deserve answers to all these questions.