Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner has discussed the financial arrangements behind Wightlink ferries with Vince Cable MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Island’s MP believes that very high levels of indebtedness are adding to the financial pressures on Wightlink, who have recently implemented damaging service cuts to evening and overnight ferry services. Mr Turner has also written to Nicholas Moore, the Chief Executive of the Australian Macquarie Group of companies who are the ultimate owners of Wightlink seeking clarity about the funding arrangements.
Mr Turner, commented:
“Yarmouth resident, Peter Bonnell raised this issue recently at a public meeting. I have followed it up because I believe Islanders deserve clarity about the funding of a company which provides us with lifeline services. The discussion with the Secretary of State was extremely wide ranging and I am pleased to say he very quickly understood the impact that the ferry services have, not least because he has used them to travel to the Island himself in a private capacity. I am also trying to find out if the complex inter-company financial arrangements are in place to minimise tax liability in the UK – and will pass the Secretary of State the answers I receive to the questions I have asked.
“Vince was his usual charming self – but have no doubt, he is extremely astute. He is also responsible for the Office of Fair Trading and we discussed a number of issues arising from the market study they carried out in 2009. It was an extremely constructive meeting.
“I will keep working on this issue which affects the whole of the Island’s economy. I now intend to set up a meeting with Stephen Hammond MP, the Transport Minister responsible for Maritime Affairs, and I hope that can include a delegation from the Island to explain the impact the latest service cuts are having on individuals and the Island as a whole.”
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