Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Ferry operator vows to fight ‘unfair’ government support after losing Court of Session battle

Post Thumbnail

A ferry company has lost its fight at the Court of Session against what it claimed were “unfair” subsidies to operators on northern sailing routes to Orkney and Shetland.

The Court of Session ruled that subsidised sailings between Orkney and the mainland, operated through a tender by a contractor on behalf of the Scottish Government were lawful, allowing the process to find a new operator to continue.

However, while claiming it was only looking for a “level playing field”, the family-owned Pentland Ferries operator responded it was now waiting for a decision by the European Court “to see sense” on what it regards as the “unlawfulness” of a £370million subsidy for the Scrabster and Aberdeen routes to Orkney.

This claim to the European court has delayed the introduction of cheaper fares on the route through the Scottish Government’s flagship road equivalent tariff scheme.

But Orkney MSP Liam McArthur insisted the ruling in the Court of Session meant the tendering process should continue with immediate effect.

Mr McArthur said: “Hopefully, this will allow the uncertainty that has hung over the tendering process to be lifted.

“These are lifeline services for the Orkney and Shetland communities, which will now expect improvements to be delivered during the course of the next contract period.”

However, in expressing frustration at the Court of Session ruling, a spokesman for Pentland Ferries said: “We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision and will now take some time to reflect and decide on our next steps.

“All we are asking for, as a family owned, subsidy-free local business is to be allowed to operate on a level playing field.”

The spokesman added: “We are not asking for the Stromness to Scrabster route to be abandoned, nor are we requesting any funding for ourselves.

“We are simply challenging whether the proposed level of subsidy – £370million over the next tender period, a significant proportion of which relates to the Pentland Firth route – is necessary and proportionate, considering that we have now operated for 18 years without a penny of government assistance.

“There is an ongoing European Commission investigation into this matter and we are hopeful that their verdict will assist in a future that safeguards our service and enables us to operate in a fairer business environment.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]