The Scottish Tory leader has actually assaulted the senior supervisors of the government-owned Ferguson Marine shipyard as “fat cats” who were paid bonus offers for “failure”.
Douglas Ross said it was “downright scandalous” that managers at the shipyard in Port Glasgow were paid £87,000 on top of their incomes in 2021/2022.
A report by the auditor general of Scotland criticised Ferguson Marine for paying the money without looking for authorization from the Scottish Government.
Stephen Boyle said it was unclear how the efficiency of the supervisors was examined.
During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, the Scottish Tory leader required the Scottish Government to require supervisors at Ferguson return the money.
He said: “The SNP ferry scandal has damaged our nation’s reputation for shipbuilding excellence and has left islanders without vital transport links they need for their everyday lives.”
Ross mentioned Audit Scotland’s report which said the cost to build the 2 brand-new ships continues to increase without any conclusion date yet validated in spite of years of hold-up.
He continued: “The overall cost to taxpayers since of SNP incompetence is now £338m, 3 and a half times more than the initial agreement of £97m and there’s still no conclusion date for the ferryboats.
“But Ferguson Marine, fully owned by the SNP government, has paid out bonuses of £87,000 to highly-paid chiefs.”
Nicola Sturgeon said she accepted the criticism from Audit Scotland that the bonus offers were undesirable.
“We can assure parliament that new arrangements have been put in place at the deputy first minister’s request to ensure that doesn’t arise in future,” she said.
She included: “I have said many times, and will say again, we deeply regret the delays to the completion of the ferries and the cost overruns.”
Sturgeon said John Swinney will provide an update to parliament on Thursday afternoon following the report by the auditor general.
But Ross said it was “unacceptable” for the First Minister to ask MSPs to await responses.
He said: “The auditor general is clear that these bonus offers were undesirable. His words.
“We believe they’re downright outrageous. It’s undesirable. It’s a bonus offer for failure and this failure is all on the SNP federal government.
“This is a company owned by ministers. They are ultimately in charge of it.”
Ross asked if the Scottish Government would step in to guarantee the bonus offers are “returned to the taxpayer”.
Sturgeon said the Audit Scotland report revealed it was unclear why the bonus offers were distributed.