HC Deb 10 November 1976 vol 919 cc397-8
7. Mr. Donald Stewart

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the withdrawal of the MV "Loch Carron" from service on the West Coast of Scotland.

Mr. Gregor MacKenzie

My right hon. Friend accepted the unanimous recommendation by the Transport Users' Consultative Committee for Scotland that the cargo service between Glasgow and the Outer Isles, operated by the "Loch Carron" should be withdrawn after 31st October 1976. The current annual deficit on this service, which was met by revenue grant, was nearly £400,000, and with traffic down to about 5,000 tons this was a loss of £80 on every ton carried.

Mr. Stewart

Is the Minister aware that the directive to the Scottish Transport Group from the Scottish Transport Users' Consultative Committee at the hearing last year was that the company should advertise more and improve its services? Nothing was done and, therefore, the company has, in effect, thumbed its nose at the directive. Will the Minister see that the permission is withdrawn?

Mr. MacKenzie

I cannot accept that any operator would wish to withdraw what he regarded as a successful service. From the discussions we have had, I am satisfied that suitable arrangements have been made for alternative services for livestock and oil and fuel. The position regarding livestock services will be monitored, and this will be helpful.