Yet despite the huge amounts of taxpayers’ money at stake in Ferguson Marine, Scotland’s opposition politicians have done little more than raise a concerned eyebrow. “They can’t afford to get a reputation for poor work,” opined Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson.
No-one dares to ask the obvious question: should the Scottish Government be propping up a failing shipbuilder at all?
Scottish shipbuilding had struggled since the 1960s. Despite Scotland’s shipbuilding heritage, other countries could build modern ships for lower prices. Orders for Scottish ships fell. Fewer orders meant reduced economies of scale, further damaging efficiency and competitiveness.
With shipyards already running at a loss, there was no money to invest in new technologies or otherwise improve efficiency. Scottish shipbuilding has been caught in this downward spiral for at least half a century.