SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR ARDROSSAN HARBOUR DELAYS
Commenting after questioning Minister for Transport Fiona Hyslop on the latest delays to the Ardrossan Harbour redevelopment project, Katy Clark, Scottish Labour MSP for West Scotland, commented: “Today, I raised with the Transport Minister that communities waited six years for the Scottish Government to agree grant terms with intransigent owner Peel Ports. Just weeks later it has been paused due to costs being higher than previously feared.
“The minister told me today this needed to be done to ensure ‘value for money’ and so the ‘business case’ for improvements is robust. It begs the question: why has it taken so long for the Scottish Government to do the work and put a meaningful business case together?
“Since ex-Transport Minister Humza Yousaf first approved the redevelopment plan by North Ayrshire Council’s previous Labour administration, we have had another five transport ministers in place. Rather than take the port into public ownership to accelerate progress, they sat on their hands despite millions of pounds having been earmarked for this project.
“Now, despite terms being agreed, we’re hardly any further forward. The Ardrossan-Brodick service is the busiest on the entire network and it’s islanders, ferry users and local businesses who pay the price as this shambles drags on. This project has been mismanaged for too long.
“A competent and thorough business case must now be presented to the Ardrossan Harbour Task Force urgently, and a full summary of the costs and implications should also be presented for full parliamentary scrutiny.”
MSP SOUNDS ALARM AS HUNDREDS OF NORTH AYRSHIRE FAMILIES IN TEMPORARY HOUSING
Scottish Labour MSP Katy Clark has slammed the Scottish Government’s failed housing strategy after it emerged 165 households with children across North Ayrshire have been stuck in “temporary” accommodation for over six months.
Of these, 20 have been left without a permanent home for one to two years, with a further five households having waited between two and three years.
Across Scotland, 6,135 Scottish households with children have been stuck in temporary accommodation for over one year. It comes just weeks after data showed the number of local authority new builds in Scotland has dropped by 23% in a year despite record levels of homelessness.
Katy Clark MSP, who represents West Scotland for Scottish Labour, commented: “It is appalling that homelessness continues to blight communities in this day and age. It is particularly devastating to know there are families spending years waiting for a home here in North Ayrshire.
“Children deserve the best start in life, yet so many are being left in limbo. Despite this, the Scottish Government continues to cut local government budgets and its support for delivery of new social housing does not remotely reach the scale required.
“There should not be a single child in Scotland facing such long waits to find a stable home. The Scottish Government must step up, take action and deliver an emergency social housing strategy.”
SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT MUST COMMIT TO FOI REFORM ON UN ANNIVERSARY
Scottish Labour MSP Katy Clark has today called on the Scottish Government to “finally step up” and strengthen the public’s enforceable right to information, as International Right to Know Day (IRKD) is observed across the globe.
She also confirmed the final proposal for her Freedom of Information Reform (Scotland) Bill, which will mark the most significant reform of FOI legislation in the history of devolution, will be published in October alongside a summary of consultation responses.
The Scottish Government followed Ms Clark in launching its own consultation on FOI reforms earlier this year. However, unlike Ms Clark, who is set to launch her final proposal for a member’s bill on in the coming weeks, the Scottish Government have made no commitment to extend FOI coverage to all providers of public services, and a pledge to reform FOI was absent from the Programme for Government.
On IRKD, also known as the United Nations’ International Day for Universal Access to Information, the West Scotland MSP argued a “culture of secrecy” exists in the Scottish public sphere and that legislation around access to information is “woefully outdated”.
She commented: “Today, national governments will be encouraged to reflect on the public’s right to access information, but a glance at Scotland’s balance sheet tells us we have a long way to go.
“We have a raft of public services delivered by providers which aren’t covered by FOI. We have legislation which is woefully outdated. We have a culture of secrecy, where responses by some public organisations are frequently late or evasive. And we have a Scottish Government which has essentially been under special measures over its atrocious FOI performance for the past five years.
“In a democratic country, this isn’t good enough. And yet, despite parliamentary committees and former Information Commissioners calling for root and branch reform, the Scottish Government’s own suggestions are toothless and miles off what the public is demanding.
“I’m looking forward to now bringing forward proposals for overdue reforms which will close legal loopholes and ensure public information follows the public pound. I sincerely hope the Scottish Government will finally step up and support modernising reforms, ensuring Scotland lives up to the lofty ideals first set out when FOI law was first passed two decades ago.”
HULL 802 DELAY A BLOW BUT INVESTMENT NEEDED
Commenting on the news Hull 802, recently named the MV Glen Rosa, has been delayed until May 2025, Katy Clark, Scottish Labour MSP for West Scotland, commented: “Islanders will understandably be extremely disappointed this costly and extremely overdue vessel has now been delayed yet again. The failure by the Scottish Government to provide reliable lifetime ferry services for the islands is a disgrace.
“There is no doubt that a litany of mistakes have been at the Ferguson Marine shipyard, not least when it comes to governance, financial safeguards and a raft of decisions made at ministerial level, some stemming back to all the way before nationalisation.
“These mistakes must be learned from, but having visited the yard this week and met with management and the workforce, it is clear investment is also urgently needed to secure the yard’s long term future.
“Islanders need a steady pipeline of ferries and the workers at Ferguson Marine need job security. When I visited the site it was clear from all I spoke to that the site is really too small to build vessels of this size and that changes made to the yard by previous owners are a significant problem.
“Investment is needed to reverse the previous changes made so the yard is properly equipped to build smaller vessels and undertake other work in the future. I very much hope the Scottish Government is willing to agree to this investment.
“Regeneration of shipbuilding along the Clyde is not only viable but necessary, but it will not be possible without sustained investment and support. The shipyard will need a continuous chain of work going, and ministers need to provide the funding needed to ensure it is put on a sound footing going forward.”
For a report by STV see the link Further delay and up to £24m in ‘understated’ costs to late CalMac ferries