Are the SNP privatising the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service?

There are no plans to privatise these services – they will remain under public control through Scottish Ministers under the terms of any new contract. The public service contract being tendered is to operate lifeline services on behalf of the Scottish Government.

On 19 May 2016, CalMac Ferries Ltd, awarded the contract to operate the Clyde and Hebrides network. CalMac is wholly owned by the Scottish Government. Scottish Ministers will retain control of all of important issues, such as fares and timetables, through the public service contract. Vessels and port infrastructure will also remain publicly owned as they are now.

The Scottish Government is required to tender the public-service contract to operate these ferry services under procurement law. The current contract was awarded to CalMac in 2007 following a similar exercise by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat administration. It would be against the law for the government not to tender this contract, resulting to legal challenges and creating uncertainty for the communities who rely on these lifeline services and the staff who operate them.

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