MANY island businesses that depend on already infrequent or periodic elements of income fear permanent closure as they count the costs of the Scottish ferries crisis.

The extent of the impact of this on top of the pandemic is such that it means entire islands economies are also now at risk of collapse, it is claimed.

Business representatives have said that their direct and immediate as well as long term concerns are not being addressed.

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An invitation to Mairi Gougeon, the new Islands Cabinet Secretary, is among those that await acknowledgement.

Scott Attkins, Arran Ferries Action Group secretary, writes to the MSP with the offer of “a visit the Isle of Arran to meet with us and find out for yourself the devastating impact our current ferry situation is having on our fragile island economy”, adding: “This crisis extends to other islands up the west coast of Scotland served by the ailing CalMac ferry fleet.

“We desperately need reliable ferries so the islands can recover just like the mainland, otherwise we risk the collapse of island economies within the next one-two years.”

The Scottish Government has said it values the ongoing input of communities as it moves towards implementing its planned improvements, but to many the Holyrood response so far has been inadequate.

The Herald: The Glen Sannox is not due until next year.The Glen Sannox is not due until next year.

Two new ferries are being built with the first due next summer, several years late, and only part of the solution, islanders say.

Good news, surely, that Scotland managed to buck broader UK and European trends by winning an increased number of foreign direct investment projects last year, Business Editor Ian McConnell writes in his Called to Account column this week.

“However, from observing the reactions of some people to Scotland’s fine showing in EY’s latest annual inward investment survey, it appeared the response was far from one of universal delight. The discontent over the figures seemed to come from the political rather than economic sphere.”

He continues: “It seems that so much these days in Scotland is viewed through a constitutional lens. In the context of the EY survey, the findings certainly did not fit with dire warnings of immediate doom for the nation’s economy arising from uncertainty fuelled by reignition of the debate in Scotland over independence.”

There was evidence that Scottish companies are not missing out on the initial public offering boom that has been sweeping through the City of London in recent months with the stock-market flotation of The Artisanal Spirits Company, writes Deputy Business Editor Scott Wright in his Tuesday column.

The turning tide of the North Sea energy market was highlighted as oil services heavyweight Wood underlined its future interests with the appointment of expert in the field Minnie Lu as decommissioning services director, reports Business Correspondent Mark Williamson.

There was extra cheer at Scottish hotel group Crerar this week as it celebrated its boutique hotel becoming the first five-star rated accommodation in Glencoe.

Coming after a £500,000 revamp, writes Business Correspondent Kristy Dorsey, the Glencoe Inn has new look bedrooms, food and drink offerings and outdoor areas, and the quality of the inn’s breakfast service was also noted as it landed the AA Breakfast Award.