MP Bob Seely has complained to government about Isle of Wight ferry services and has made the case for an inquiry into Wightlink and Red Funnel 

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, Mr Seely set out why he believes access to the Island is being damaged by the current practices and corporate structures at both ferry firms.

He highlighted several areas where he believes the firms were failing: a lack of competition, slower and fewer services, price inflation, disruption through delays and cancellations and increased debts.

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Mr Seely has told the minister that these issues should be investigated by the transport department or the Competition and Markets Authority.

The Island MP said: “The ferry firms are damaging the Island. In recent years there has been a notable decline in the frequency of services as well as the speed of service. 

“At the same time, both firms have invested little in their services compared to the staggering level of debt that both have taken on. 

“In the last year, the combination of fewer and disrupted services and increased cost has reached a critical point. That’s why I decided to produce my study on the ferry firms last month.

“We need change. We need a better deal from the ferry firms.” 

To see Bob Seely’s full letter to Mark Harper, see here.

Mr Seely said that whilst Wightlink has raised loans of £175 million, it had invested little in passenger services. 

The MP told the Secretary of State: "Operating profits could have been used to invest in new infrastructure, service resilience and better-quality services; but have instead largely been used to pay lenders and shareholders who have made little capital investment in the business.

"The status quo has allowed the owners of these firms to, in my opinion, abuse their power to the detriment of the Island."

The County Press reported in March that Red Funnel had commissioned an third-party independent investigation into a series of technical issue.

This followed major disruption to the operator’s services, with the news revealed by Lord Davies of Gower, minister for Maritime, International and Security.