ALBA Party MPs Neale Hanvey and Kenny MacAskill met today (Tuesday) with the Scotland Office Minister Iain Stewart MP in a renewed push to re-establish direct ferry links from Scotland to mainland Europe. The Scotland Office Minister has now agreed to raise the issue directly with the UK Department for Transport.
Speaking immediately after the meeting in Dover House, Whitehall, ALBA Westminster Group Leader and MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Neale Hanvey MP said:
“The Minister agreed to raise the issue of Scotland-Europe ferry links directly with the UK Department for Transport to explore what assistance might be available to transition to greener and cleaner forms of transport and to report back.
“We pushed the Minister to say when the UK Government will put in place vital funding to replace the European Union Motorway of the Seas funding which has been lost because of Brexit. That fund is being used to help support long range ferry routes from Sweden to Norway, to the tune of 3-4 million Euros per annum over three years, but because we have left the EU Scotland is unable to access this vital funding.
“That is why we are calling on the UK Government to act now to establish a fund into which the Scottish Government and its transport agencies could apply for funding to help re-establish direct ferry links from ports such as Rosyth in Scotland to ports in Europe, such as Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, as other countries are already doing.
“There is nothing to stop the Scottish Government jointly funding this type of investment with the UK Government making a contribution through a UK fund as the successor to the EU Motorway of the Seas”.
Also attending the meeting, Kenny MacAskill, ALBA Depute Leader and MP for East Lothian said:
“As we seek to rebuild our economy as we come out of the pandemic it is vital that we invest in direct ferry routes and services for both passengers and freight. This is the way to build up trade, exports and tourism, while at the same time reducing our carbon emissions, but it requires both political will and proper investment to make it happen.”