MINISTERS have ploughed more than £25 million in “emergency” funding into the nationalised shipyard building  two long overdue and massively over-budget ferries this financial year, it can be revealed

It was confirmed that  £6m of direct capital spending has been injected into the nationalised Ferguson Marine yard – as the ferries’  delivery will be delayed yet again by at least six months.

The further cash injection means that direct capital spending on the two lifeline ferries has hit £61.1m in this financial year alone.  But the budget for Ferguson Marine was just £35.9m meaning there is an overspend of  £25.2m.

In 2021/22 ministers approved £115.1m in spending on Ferguson Marine which is trying to deliver two long-delayed ferries - more than twice the planned budget.

Ministers have so far failed to sanction a £61m budget for Ferguson Marine next year as it remains under due diligence.

It comes as the Ferguson Marine board admitted ‘significant doubt’ over its ability to continue as a going concern in its latest audited financial statement signed off three weeks ago due to doubts over future funding.

READ MORE: Ferguson Marine admitted 'significant doubt' over ScotGov firm future

Deputy First Minister John Swinney confirmed that he felt it was “appropriate and necessary” to allocate a further £6m for work on the vessels.

Ferguson Marine  requested a further £21m in this financial year alone to directly support extra capital funding needed to deliver the two lifeline island ferries that remain unfinished with Ferguson Marine.

Ministers had already approved a £15m cash injection in December to ensure the continued work on the vessels.

Ministers have also agreed to provide a working capital loan of up to £25,000 to the nationalised shipyard firm to assist the shipyard in delivering new commercial work.

Calls were made for an independent public inquiry into the ferry fiasco as it emerged that nearly half a billion pounds has been ploughed into the shipyard firm.

Analysis of the money trail based on the Scottish Government's own accounting and audits revealed that the cost to the taxpayer of supporting Ferguson Marine both before and after it forced its nationalisation has soared to more than £450m.

The vessels' delivery has now been put back over five years in the wake of the soaring costs.

HeraldScotland: John Swinney is to step down  Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Mr Swinney confirmed that due to "persistent design gaps and build errors" progress had been slower than planned for the first of the vessels due to come online, Glen Sannox which will now not be delivered in time for the summer season.

It is scheduled for autumn 2023 rather than the end of May 2023 previously estimated, with what Mr Swinney described as a "contract backstop" of no later than the end of December 2023.

The second vessel, only known as Hull 802 is now not expected online till the autumn of 2024 having already been delayed to the end of March 2024. The contract backstop was stated as being at the end of December 2024.

Mr Swinney said: "It is a matter of great disappointment, that a further revision to the timescale for delivery has been necessary."


He said he welcomed the Ferguson Marine chief executive David Tydeman's assurances that Ferguson Marine will continue their best endeavours to deliver both vessels sooner than these dates.

The vessels at the centre of the ferry fiasco were due online in the first half of 2018 with one initially to serve Arran and the other to serve the Skye triangle routes to North Uist and Harris, but they are well over five years late. It is suggested the costs of delivery has quadrupled compared to the original £97m cost.

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: " Glen Sannox and Hull 802 can each be delayed by up to seven months. And we still don't know what the final cost will be. More delays, more costs and islanders left in the lurch. It's a disgrace."

HeraldScotland: Flags are waved at a launch ceremony for the liquefied natural gas passenger ferry MV Glen Sannox, the UK's first LNG ferry, at Ferguson Marine Engineering in Port Glasgow..

Scottish Labour's transport spokesman Neil Bibby added: "Even more delays and even more millions, who will be surprised. This a scandal manufactured by SNP ministers."

The annual accounts for 2021/22 which has just been laid before the Scottish Parliament states that the current budget allocation for 2021/22 did not cover their full costs anticipated for January and say that the languishing ferries were subject to additional cost and overrun.

The Herald previously revealed concerns for the future of the firm because ministers had continued to stall on signing off on the extra funding.

Public finance watchdogs Audit Scotland said on Tuesday that there are "risks and uncertainties" over the financial future of Ferguson Marine going forward while the costs of delivery of long-delayed ferries has soared.

Ferguson Marine responded to the Audit Scotland concerns saying they believed there was a "strong future" for the business despite doubts expressed.

Mr Tydeman said: “Glen Sannox is coming to life following a successful spell in drydock. As a result we have had main engines and propellers running, generators load tested, radar working, switchboards operational– all big, set piece achievements. We can see things coming together well, which is inspiring the shipyard team to further efforts. They are doing an outstanding job and I am proud of their commitment.

“We are obviously disappointed to extend the delivery timescales for both vessels but after sensible conversations with the broader stakeholders, there are compelling reasons for doing so."

READ MORE: 'Stop shouting at me': John Swinney hits out over Scots ferry fiasco

He added: “Every week that passes takes us closer to completion on both vessels. The issues that we are uncovering – while generating delays - tend to be smaller scale and less of a challenge to overcome. The reset timescale has taken these factors into account, and we believe our delivery programme is realistic and robust. It will enable the ship to enter service with everyone having more confidence in her operational reliability in future years, and with dual fuel capability as contractually specified.”

Meanwhile, Mr Swinney described £87,000 in bonuses to Ferguson Marine board members in the wake of a failure to complete the ferries as "reprehensible".

It comes after Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross told the First Minister that it was "unacceptable" the money had not been cleared by the Scottish Government and said managers at Ferguson should return the cash.

Mr Swinney spoke out amidst the growing disquiet performance bonus payments made to senior Ferguson Marine managers during 2021/22 while delivery of two lifeline ferries remains delayed.

He said new arrangements have been put in place at his request to ensure such an eventuality does not arise in the future.

Audit Scotland raised concerns over the bonus payments saying it is "not clear" how their performance was assessed, nor were appropriate frameworks and governance in place.