The House of Lords has heard an appeal for a ferry service to run between the UK and the Isles of Scilly on a daily basis, all year round. Labour’s Lord Berkeley wants a similar system set up which the Scottish government has for services between Scotland and its islands.
However, transport spokesman for the government, Earl Attlee, said that although he realised that a ferry service was a lifeline for those living off the Cornish coast the ferry had not been able to function commercially and would need to be subsidised. He added that the Scilly ferry was only in operation for seven months out of the year and that a return trip costs £90.
Lord Berkeley said this is compared to services in Scotland which run several times a day, all year round and where a return journey cost £12.50. He added that the islands’ council could tap into funds supplied by the European Union’s regional development fund to keep a daily service running.
Liberal Democrat Lord Bradshaw warned that the ferry service serving Scilly as well as a helicopter service could soon be cancelled and that there might not be a way of replacing them commercially.
Earl Attlee said it was difficult to make a comparison between the Scilly service and the ferry services running to the islands off the Scottish mainland as they were run in very different ways. He pointed out that the Scottish ferries were managing to run as a commercial venture.