FUNDING of £500,000 is being offered to improve disabled access on the ferry network.

Transport Minister Keith Brown has announced the launch of the Ferries Accessibility Fund, which will be open to bids from the public and private sector and aims to allow improvements to be made to vessels and harbours. Any financial awards made will pay for half of the work, with operators expected to pay for the remainder.

Anne Maclean, convenor of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland, said it was an encouraging move.

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Mr Brown said: "The funding could help a wide range of proposals, from adapting existing ships and harbours to make it easier and safer for people with reduced mobility to embark and disembark, to giving staff training in disability awareness and customer service."