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Troubled Scottish shipyard to be nationalised

A TROUBLED Scottish shipyard will be nationalised after ministers failed to find a buyer.

SNP Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced today that the Scottish government is “ready and willing to take Ferguson Marine into public ownership.” He said the move would “secure the continued employment of the workforce in the yard” and make sure ferries ordered by the state-owned CalMac were delivered.

Last week bosses at the yard served notice of their intent to put the Port Glasgow yard into administration with about 350 jobs at risk.

Ferguson Marine Engineering (FMEL) chief executive Gerry Marshall said the decision had been made “with great regret and disappointment.”

The yard had already received £97 million in government loans.

Mr Mackay said today: “The Scottish government has been working for over two years to find a resolution to the difficulties at FMEL.

“Throughout that time our preference has been to identify viable commercial options to keep the yard going and to finish the vessels. No such solutions have come forward.

“There remains a process to go through to secure the transfer of the yard to the Scottish government, and we are hopeful that all parties recognise the importance of completing that transfer as quickly and as smoothly as possible.”

“While we are open to engaging with any parties with a serious interest in investing in and securing a future for the shipyard, it is essential the government acts now to secure the completion of the ferries and continuity of employment at Fergusons.”

But Labour MP Paul Sweeney told the Star: “Instead of perfunctory tinkering and the state attempting to replicate the short-term, profit seeking behaviours of the private sector, the Scottish Government should be taking a much more long-term and strategic approach, which is an ethos at the heart of Labour’s industrial strategy for government.

“Just as Bi-Fab [yard] stands idle and unable to secure a significant share of the vast marine renewable fabrication work in demand off Scotland’s shores, and as 163 years of railway engineering in Springburn is abruptly allowed to be strangled by a foreign owned asset stripper while rail maintenance contracts flow out of the country, we see the Scottish Government standing by and failing to address the destruction of these vital industrial assets.” 

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