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Ministers 'scaling up' operation at Ferguson shipyard

Derek Mackay said the Scottish Government is working to ensure future work at the site.

A welder at Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow.
A welder at Ferguson Marine shipyard in Port Glasgow. STV

The Scottish Government is "scaling up" the operation at Ferguson Marine after agreeing to take the troubled yard into public ownership, Derek Mackay has said. 

On a visit to the site in Port Glasgow on Monday, Scotland's finance secretary said work on vessels currently under construction would be completed, whilst jobs are also being safeguarded. 

In the meeting with some of the 17 new recruits at the yard, along with 14 apprentices, Mackay also said the Government is working to ensure future work at the site. 

"It's good news that we're moving towards public ownership of Ferguson's," said Mackay. 

"What that'll do is ensure that we complete the vessels, safeguard the jobs and give the yard a future. 

"I'm here today because we're recruiting more people. I think that's evidence that progress is being made. "We're recruiting more people to work in the yard and we've secured the apprentices jobs so they now move into mainstream employment. 

"So we're scaling up the operation to get on with completing the vessels currently under construction at the yard." 

Last week, administrators concluded that three indicative offers for the business received from commercial parties were either not capable of being executed or did not represent a better outcome for creditors than the sale of business to the Scottish Government. 

It is expected that talks over the final terms of sale between administrators and ministers will be concluded within the next four weeks. Asked about the cost to the public purse of nationalising the yard, the Finance Secretary confirmed that details of a full cost appraisal will be outlined to Parliament. 

Mackay said: "That full cost appraisal will come to me at the end of the month and then I'll present that information to Parliament. 

"Let's not forget the bottom line here - This was a fixed price contract, it's not been delivered. 

"But rather than walk away, including when the yard was going into administration, because of the risk of closure and the vessels never being complete, jobs being lost, the Government has decided to intervene. 

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay Ken Jack - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

"And what that'll do is complete the vessels, has safeguarded the jobs and has ensured that we have a future.

"The full cost appraisal and timescales will be set out to Parliament."

Mackay also stated that the transition towards public ownership of the yard has been, and would continue to be, an orderly one.

"When you look at other shipyards that were in trouble, that went into administration, workers were sent home," he said. "This has been and continues to be an orderly transition that we've retained the headcount and now we're growing it.

"We're scaling up the operation to ensure that we complete the job and ensure that there's a future pipeline of work as well. "I've given these workers a commitment and I'm standing by that commitment."

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