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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 September, 2004, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Further delay over CalMac tender
Rothesay ferry
The previous consultation took place
The contract to run the west coast ferry routes operated by Caledonian MacBrayne will not go out to tender until next year, it has been confirmed.

Transport Minister Nicol Stephen is set to announce that a further consultation on the issue will be held.

Critics say the move is just the latest slippage in a long-running saga which is causing increasing uncertainty.

Ministers believe further consultation is necessary because the last process took place about two years ago.

Using that information would mean basing the tender process on out-of-date information.

Further delay

The Scottish Executive had hoped to announce the start of the latest consultation this week - but work has still to be done, so it will not be launched until later in the month.

Argyll and Bute MSP George Lyon said that further delay was unacceptable, not least for CalMac's 1,000 employees and the communities they serve.

He is worried that the European-imposed exercise, which was due to culminate in spring 2006, could be up to a year late.

The executive insists that the process will be completed by 2006 - although it could not say whether it would be the spring or autumn.

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15 Mar 04  |  Scotland
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09 Sep 02  |  Scotland

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