GREEN minister Lorna Slater has been accused of having “no shame” after taxpayers were billed £1200 to charter her a private boat to Rum instead of her trying to use a CalMac ferry.

The Scottish Tories, who obtained the figure using Freedom of Information, said it was a “kick in the teeth” to islanders who were forced to rely on the crisis-hit ferry network.

It would have cost around £75 for Ms Slater and her entourage to go by CalMac. 

The Scottish Green co-leader, whose party urges greater use of public transport, was criticised last month after it emerged she and her officials hired the catamaran from Mallaig.

READ MORE: Lorna Slater under fire for private chartered boat amid ferries crisis

The Scottish Government said at the time that using the 42-passenger MV Larven from Western Isles Cruises would “maximise” the Circular Economy minister’s time on Rum.

Ms Slater and seven others were seen boarding the boat ahead of her five hour visit on May 12, when £9.40 return fares on CalMac for all of them would have been £75.20.

CalMac’s timetable also showed she could have spent five hours ten minutes on Rum using its regular service that day.

Ms Slater refused to answer press questions about using a private charter as she boarded.

Tory transport spokesman Graham Simpson said: “This revelation is a further kick in the teeth to Scotland’s betrayed island communities – as well as taxpayers footing the enormous bill for the SNP-Greens’ ferries scandal. Lorna Slater clearly has no shame.

“The government she’s a member of has created mayhem on Scotland’s ferry network through their incompetence, and yet she thought it appropriate to shun a CalMac ferry at less than a tenner a head return, to shell out £1200 of public money on a chartered boat to take her and her team to Rum.

“It’s utterly tone deaf to the plight of islanders, who have to make do with a pitiful ferry service. It’s also the height of hypocrisy from a Green minister who’s forever demanding a greater use of public transport.”

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A Scottish government spokeswoman said Ms Slater's visit was "warmly welcomed by the community" and was an opportunity to discuss its "vision for the future of the island and Kinloch Castle".

The former Edwardian pleasure palace is at risk of deteriorating as it is no longer being used as a hostel.

"The minister's visit on 12 May was well received by residents and community groups," the spokeswoman said.

"The crossing to Rum was arranged by [government agency] NatureScot, with the agreement of the Scottish government, to maximise time on the island speaking to residents and fit with Ms Slater's ministerial schedule."

Speaking after her visit, Steve Robertson of the Isle of Rum Community Trust, told the BBC the row over the boat was a “storm in a teacup”.

He said: "Lorna Slater is coming over to do a very important meeting to try and move things forward for the community.

“It makes people feel disappointed that that’s the story when for us a taxi charter boat is a normal part of island life. We have to use these to make the island anything like sustainable.

“She can take the ferry service if she wants to have the meeting on the ferry and fit in with the very narrow options to spend time on Rum.”