SNP MEP Warns Ferguson's still in danger

08 June 2005
SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has given a cautious welcome to the Scottish Executive's decision to delay awarding the contract for two fisheries protection vessels but cautioned that too long a delay could endanger the future of the yard.

The Executive has decided to delay while it considers a Commission investigation into Polish shipyards, sparked by the SNP and Fergusons meeting with European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes yesterday.

Speaking from Strasbourg Mr Smith said

"I'm glad the Executive is finally taking this seriously but all this trouble could have been saved if they had talked to the Commission earlier and taken seriously the complaints being made by Fergusons. It is the Executive's job to stick up for Scotland in Europe and Fergusons have been seriously let down. It was Fergusons who have forced the Commission to investigate the allegations against their Polish competitors with no help from Ross Finnnie, Jim Wallace or Jack McConnell.

I will be writing to Ross Finnie with the details of our conversation with the Commissioner and hope this will help him reach a speedy decision in favour of Fergusons. The delay in awarding this contract is already causing the yard serious problems, further delay could be disastrous. Giving the contract to Fergusons is the sensible decision and should be awarded as soon as possible."