LAST Thursday saw the recent meeting of the Inverclyde Taskforce and the Ferguson's Summit take place.

The first event was helpful, particularly the update from Peel Ports regarding the opportunity investment zones could offer.

Inverclyde is focusing its bid on the Inchgreen site and it was something worthy of consideration.

The Ferguson's summit was a focused discussion with the Deputy First Minister, Kate Forbes MSP in attendance.

There is cross-party support for the future of the yard and the workforce. The issue is how we get through the current period and provide the yard with the best opportunity to have a long-term future and to win other orders in addition to CalMac ferry orders.

I have been clear and public in my position that I want to see a direct award of the Small Vessel Replacement Programme which consists of seven ships.

This will not be a panacea, but it would allow the yard to become more efficient, more competitive and be able to genuinely tender for other work.

The yard has proven over many decades that it can build small vessels. The smaller vessels will enable the yard to begin that journey of rebuilding its reputation and brand so that it can compete against other yards.

I have full confidence in the workforce and the yard despite everything that has went before. Changes are already taking place which provides me with optimism that the yard can deliver.

The recent launch of the Glen Rosa was an example of Inverclyde showing its support for Ferguson's and I will continue to work to ensure we see many more launches in the future.