A SECRET report into the management of Ferguson Marine focuses solely on how the operation has been run since the Scottish Government takeover — and the installation of £791k-a-year 'turnaround director' Tim Hair.

An inspection of the yard — carried out over a three-month period by global shipbuilding consultancy First Marine International — came more than a year after Mr Hair was handed control of the day-to-day running of the shipyard by ministers.

Ferguson's whistleblowers have reportedly said that FMI experts rated the yard as among the lowest scoring businesses they have evaluated in recent years.

The Scottish Government and Ferguson's have been accused of a 'cover-up' after refusing to release details of the 'benchmarking exercise' assessment — conducted between November last year and January.

Ministers — who nationalised Ferguson's in August 2019 — and yard bosses have cited 'commercial interests' as the reason for keeping the report from the public.

Since Mr Hair was appointed, at the time of the takeover, two heavily delayed dual-fuel Caledonian MacBrayne ferries at the centre of a political storm remain five years behind schedule.

The turnaround director told MSPs in April that it was impossible to say with certainty when MV Glen Sannox and the unnamed 'Hull 802' will be ready for service.

Inverclyde's MSP Stuart McMillan — who is set to meet Mr Hair — is now demanding clarity as to when the ships will be completed.

It is believed the original £97m price tag for the ships could eventually top £300m.

Mr McMillan told the Telegraph: "I will be visiting the yard later this month to meet with Mr Hair to discuss the progress on the Glen Sannox and 802 vessels.

"Finishing these two ships is of utmost priority and while I recognise that the pandemic has created further delays, an updated timetable must be forthcoming.

"Efforts should be made to work round the clock to deliver them."

Mr McMillan has also written to Scotland's finance secretary Kate Forbes and transport minister Michael Matheson with regard to what he has termed as 'issues of concern' at Ferguson's.

It is understood that the confidential FMI report is not an analysis of how Ferguson's was being run prior to nationalisation, and that no assessment of the yard by the consultancy was carried out when it was owned by billionaire businessman Jim McColl.

Greenock-born west Scotland MSP Jamie Greene said: "The appalling refusal of the SNP government to publish this report is a massive insult to island residents and ferry users.

"This fiasco continues to go from one bungle to the next and it's no wonder that they want to cover up the findings."

Ferguson's was nationalised after the original ferries contract, awarded to the yard in 2015 under the ownership of Mr McColl, turned sour.

The yard insists 'significant progress' has been made and bosses say they are 'doing everything possible' to deliver the ferries, but they have admitted that 'there is still a lot of work to do'.

A Ferguson's spokesperson said: "The benchmarking exercise was conducted at the end of 2020 and was an assessment of the shipyard as at that time.

"The findings reflect the turnaround director's assessment reported in December 2019, plus the significant progress that had been made in the intervening year.

"The report did not hold any surprises and all areas at Ferguson are being steadily improved."

The yard spokesperson added: "The report reflects the state of the yard after decades of under-investment and only months under ownership by the Scottish Government."

When Clyde Blowers supremo Mr McColl rescued the yard in 2014 he had earmarked an immediate investment of between £7m and £8m and said at the time that this could rise to up to £60m long-term.

Mr Hair was paid £791,285 between January 1 and December 31 last year - £2,565-a-day - with his remuneration package described as 'extraordinary' by Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe and branded 'grotesque' by Alba councillor Chris McEleny.

Mr Hair refused to be interviewed in April after the Telegraph invited him to speak about his pay packet.