This in from the council in their own words, Ed
The Secretary of State for Transport is to hold further talks with cross-Solent ferry companies following an initial round-table discussion in Cowes today (Thursday).
The meeting between Transport Secretary Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin and senior representatives from Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel this afternoon was organised by the Isle of Wight Council. It was the first time all operators had collectively met a senior government minister for a meeting of this type.
The purpose of the discussion was for the ferry operators to explain to government what barriers they faced in investing to secure affordable and accessible services and infrastructure.
Pugh: “Ferry companies are delighted” with offer of Westminster meeting
After the meeting, Isle of Wight Council leader David Pugh said: “The way to maintain and enhance cross-Solent services will be through positive dialogue. This initial meeting was an important part in the process and I know the ferry companies are delighted that they have been offered a further meeting in Westminster to discuss the issues they face.
“The council was pleased to arrange this initial meeting which we hope can help bring positive benefits to the Island. I think this meeting underlined the council’s determination to encourage economic growth and assisting Westminster in understanding the uniqueness and special characteristics of the Island is an important part of this.
“I would like to thank the ferry companies for their open and honest input into the meeting and also to the Secretary of State for setting out a positive way forward.”
No likelihood of direct Government subsidies
During the meeting, the Secretary of State confirmed there was no likelihood of direct Government subsidies for the Island’s ferry services and welcomed the collective approach operators had taken to growing the ferry market by investment through activity such as tourism promotion.
Present at the meeting with the Secretary of State were Isle of Wight Council chief executive, Steve Beynon, Isle of Wight Council deputy director of economy and environment, John Metcalfe, Isle of Wight Council leader, councillor David Pugh, Councillor Edward Giles, Isle of Wight Council cabinet member responsible for transport, Russell Kew, Wightlink chief executive, Murray Carter, commercial operations director, Red Funnel, and Henry Game, chief executive, Hovertravel.
Image: © Isle of Wight council: From Left: Cllr David Pugh, leader of IW Council, Henry Game, chief executive, Hovertravel, Murray Carter, commercial operations director, Red Funnel, Transport Secretary Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin, Russell Kew, chief executive, Wightlink