Fife Council challenges cabinet secretary over Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry line

Published: 21 Jan 2015 09:30


DEPUTY Council leader Lesley Laird has today (Wednesday, January 21) challenged cabinet secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities Keith Brown MSP to respond to Fife’s request for a meeting and urged the minister to continue efforts to accelerate and finalise the potential rescue deal for the DFDS Seaways Rosyth – Zeebrugge ferry.

"There are still questions the cabinet secretary must answer" - councillor Lesley Laird

"There are still questions the cabinet secretary must answer" - councillor Lesley Laird

Her plea follows a letter from Fife Council to the Scottish Government in October raising concerns about the future of the ferry service - to which the first minister responded by revealing proposals to safeguard the route through the acquisition of a new vessel.

The Council says it has again written to the Scottish Government asking for an urgent meeting to clarify important details about the potential rescue bid but is still to receive confirmation of a date when officials will meet with Fife representatives.

Councillor Laird said: “The announcement in November was most welcome but there still remains a number of crucial outstanding questions that the cabinet secretary must answer.

“That is why I have written yet again seeking an urgent meeting. Fife has one of the largest manufacturing bases in Scotland, and local employers are amongst the many businesses that depend on this service for export routes.

“The current financial support agreement is only in place until the end of March 2015 and it is vital to Fife this is extended until the new ferry is up and running. There is typically a long lead time before a new build ferry is in service and that’s why we need to know what the commissioning process for the new ferry will be and how long this is likely to take.

Cllr Laird added: “From an economic perspective it would also be good to understanding what the tender process for the new ferry will be.

“We also need guarantees about service standards, shipping times, costs and capacity on the new route.

“This could be fantastic boost to the Fife economy opening up new employment and supply chain opportunities for businesses here in Fife and other parts of Scotland.

“With all these areas yet to be agreed it’s essential that the minister meets with the council in the next few weeks.

“There will undoubtedly be job opportunities from this too so we want to make sure the Scottish Government will support Fife businesses getting a fair crack at any future work and that Fife gets the opportunity to live up to its growing reputation as the best place to do business.”

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