THE 'value for money' study which was conducted on completing the two CalMac ferries at Ferguson's shipyard has cost the public purse over £600,000, it has emerged.

The recently-published review found that it would be cheaper to abandon work on Hull 802 and get a new vessel built from scratch, but the Scottish Government decided to carry on with the project.

Hull 802 and her sister MV Glen Sannox were meant to cost £97m but they are more than £200m over budget and six years late.

The government conducted the due diligence exercise after the boss of the Port Glasgow shipyard said an an extra £72m was needed to complete Glen Sannox and Hull 802.

Wellbeing Economy secretary Neil Gray told MSPs the funding would continue because scrapping the second ship would only lead to further delays in getting a new vessel in operation.

He also factored in wider issues such as the impact of cancelling the order on the yard and the wider economy.

Following a written parliamentary question from Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, it has been confirmed that the value for money study - which involved civil servants and outside consultants - cost the taxpayer around £620,000.

Greenock Telegraph:

Mr Halcro Johnston, his party's tourism and enterprise spokesman, said the government continued to 'haemorrhage money in relation to the ferries on an industrial scale'.

He said: "On balance, ploughing on at Ferguson was probably the least worst option - as the alternative was even longer delays.

"But for an eye-watering £620k to have been spent on a so-called value for money report establishing it is not cost effective is the latest kick in the teeth to taxpayers and betrayed islanders in a never-ending scandal."

READ MORE: Ferguson Marine reaches milestone as bridge is lifted on to Hull 802

MV Glen Sannox is due to be delivered later this year and the Tele recently reported how work on Hull 802 had taken a step forward when the wheelhouse was lifted into place.

Bosses at the yard said the lift had gone 'perfectly'.

Now that the wheelhouse is in place, it will be fully welded to the deck and the windows will be installed, and then work can begin on the crew cabins that sit behind.

Management say the that ‘key learnings’ have been ‘captured’ from the Glen Sannox, and the yard is in a position to deliver the fit out of Hull 802 ‘much more efficiently’.

She is expected to be fully completed in the summer of 2024.

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Cabinet secretary Mr Gray said: "Our island communities deserve to be supported by two new, energy efficient vessels with the capacity and reliability required to support vibrant island economies.

"In setting out my decision to issue a written authority last month to enable work on vessel 802 to continue, there was clear, cross-party acknowledgement that this was the appropriate course of action - not least as it presents the fastest possible route to getting vital new lifeline services into service."