Nicola Sturgeon accused of lying over claims SNP government saved 400 jobs at Fergusons

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of lying over claims the Scottish Government saved over 400 jobs at the Fergusons Shipyard.

Business tycoon Jim McColl, who previously owned Fergusons, said it was untrue the shipyard would have closed if it had not been nationalized by the SNP government in 2019.

The First Minister said in an interview the shipyard would have shut and hundreds of jobs lost if the government had not stepped in.

On the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland (GMS) program on Monday, May 2, Sturgeon said the yard would have “almost certainly closed and the 400 people employed there, earning a wage, supporting their families, would not be in that employment”.

Earlier today on GMS McColl said of the jobs claim: “That’s a lie.

“At the time there were 150 employees, not 400. I think she was a bit rattled in the interview and she mixed it up with the statement that they make about saving the yard.”

Host said: “Are you saying that the yard could have survived without these contracts?”

McColl replied: “The yard still had work. It was still working on the ferry Katrina, which wasn’t launched until 2016 – was delivered early and on budget.

“It also had the additional construction work, fabrication work so there was no danger of the yard going under at that time.

“That was a slip by the First Minister in the interview.

“It was about the constant repeated statement she makes about 400 employees at the yard.”

The Scottish Government and Jim McColl have clashed over the ferries fiasco since the Audit Scotland report was published earlier this year.

The report, published in March, revealed that two new ferries built at Ferguson Marine will now cost £250 million, more than double their original price and be around four years late.

According to the report it could not establish why ministers dropped a requirement for full repayment guarantees if the billionaire McColl’s Ferguson yard failed to build the ships on time or went bust.

McColl said ministers acted in haste and against the advice of ferry company CMAL so the contract could be announced at their autumn conference in 2015.

He said the contracts were given “for political purposes” and “everything was about the optics and timing the announcements for political gain.”

Sturgeon and her ministers have, on a number of occasions, hit back at McColl over his claims.

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