Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage, has called for increased coordination in the local effort to help Gosport Ferry’s financial situation.
Caroline has been working with Gosport Ferry bosses for over a month, including raising their case direct with the Government and getting the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP, and Maritime Minister, Kelly Tolhurst MP, around the table for urgent discussions via conference call.
The Gosport Ferry has already accessed the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and should be eligible for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which provides access to loans, overdrafts and invoice finance. Under this Scheme, Gosport Ferry could access an interest-free loan of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. The Government has also provided Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council with a total over £65.8m additional funds over the COVID-19 crisis to support local services.*
Earlier this week, Caroline co-signed a letter to the Transport Secretary, joined by other local MPs and Councillors. However, the Department for Transport has been clear that any rescue package for Gosport Ferry should be a joint effort, with all stakeholders working together to support this important local service.
Commenting, Caroline said:
‘Gosport Ferry provides essential cross-harbour transport for key workers, and it’s vital that the service continues to operate.
The situation is now urgent and, while I’m delighted that we have secured a further meeting with Minister Tolhurst, it’s important that the Local Authorities and organisations like the Solent LEP also work together to see what more can done at a local level to support this vital service.’