Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant and Conservative MSP Donald Cameron have joined forces to secure a meeting with Deloitte, the BiFab administrators, to discuss future options for the Arnish Fabrication Yard.

The company which holds the lease of Arnish, as well as control of Burntisland and Methil yards in Fife, has fallen into administration after Scottish Government withdrew its support of guarantee for upcoming contract bids.

However, the community in Lewis is optimistic that Arnish has a future and should be untethered from the rest of BiFab’s assets in order to capitalise on it’s skill and asset resources.

Mrs Grant said: “There is overwhelming support from the local community and public sector organisations, as well as local landowners that Arnish be allowed to stand on its own two feet and make its way in the world. There are interested owners standing in the wings and contracts waiting to be snapped up. It would be in the best interests of everyone that Arnish is cut free from the albatross of failure which the SNP has hung around its neck.

“It is a top-of-the-range facility with a wealth of skills which have all been woefully underutilised under Scottish Government and BiFab oversight. We have the opportunity to become a world leader in fabrication and build an industry worthy of pride. The local community is chomping at the bit to be allowed to market Arnish on the world stage.

Mrs Grant added: “It’s time the SNP stopped standing in the way of Scottish potential and blundering around in the dark with some of our finest industries and let the communities who know best take over. After all the SNP purports to believe in community ownership and empowerment so let’s see them back up that policy.”

Mrs Grant and Mr Cameron will be meeting with Deloitte to receive a briefing on administration plans to date later this month.

Mr Cameron said: “We simply cannot allow the jobs and livelihoods which depend on Arnish to be lost.

“The yard and its workforce are an immense local asset and should have a significant part to play in helping to rebuild the Western Isles economy after the ravages of the pandemic.

“Frankly, if the SNP Government can’t or won’t help then they should just get out of the way.”