The Island’s MP Andrew Turner met Gordon Parsons, Wightlink Chairman and Senior Managing Director of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, who own Wightlink. Russell Kew, Wightlink’s Chief Executive also attended the meeting together with Paul Brown, a non-executive Director of the company.
Mr Turner was accompanied by Peter Bonnell, an accountant who lives in Yarmouth who had raised questions about the companies’ tax affairs at a public meeting about the cuts to ferry services at the beginning of January.
Mr Turner said :
“Mr Parsons requested this meeting following an exchange of letters about the financial structure of Wightlink and their tax affairs. He particularly wanted to make the points that they have made £68m of capital expenditure in Wightlink since they acquired the business and that £1m is also spent each year in marketing the Isle of Wight as a destination. It was a frank, open and helpful meeting at which Wightlink told us that it has an open relationship with HMRC and is already in dialogue with them about some of the issues we raised. Many of the questions I had about the structure of the company were answered and I was particularly glad that Peter Bonnell was also able to attend and assist me with this process.
“I was pleased to hear that Wightlink’s management has already met the new Solent Ferry User Group, and they have undertaken to engage constructively with them, so I hope that similar questions in future can be raised through that forum. I urge all those concerned about our lifeline ferry services to get involved in the Group and I look forward to playing my part.”
Mr Bonnell commented :
“I appreciated the opportunity to ask detailed questions about Wightlink and its structure and financing. Mr Parsons has promised to get back to me with information which was not to hand on the day. I appreciate that and look forward to receiving his response.”
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