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McArthur Presses First Minister for Ferry Contract Assurances
Posted on 13 November 2014

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has asked the First Minister for assurances that despite Serco, the outsourcing company currently holding the contract to deliver lifeline ferry services to the Northern Isles, announcing their fourth profit warning this year, there will not be any implications for people in Orkney or Shetland.


Speaking in the Chamber this afternoon (13/11/14) during First Ministers Questions, Mr McArthur raised the issue of the profit warning, and the announcement that Serco would be writing £1.5bn off the value of the company, partly due to loses accrued while delivering Government contracts.


Commenting after FMQs, Mr McArthur said,


“The announcements from Serco this week have raised serious concerns.  A series of profit warnings have been followed by an admission that on a number of government contracts, the company has sustained significant losses.


“The company's CEO, Rupert Soames, has now conceded that part of the problem has been Serco's efforts to diversify beyond its core business and an undue focus on winning new business.


“Given the decision by Scottish Ministers in 2012 to award Serco the contract to deliver lifeline ferry services to the Northern Isles, there has been understandable concern in the islands about the implications of Serco's announcement for both Orkney and Shetland.  It has also reignited concerns about the way in which the current contract negotiations were conducted.


“It was important to get a firm reassurance from the First Minister that these crucially important ferry services will not be affected. In addition, I would expect any lessons to be learned in the context of discussions about the next contract, due to begin in 2018.”


Posted on 13 November 2014

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