Following the news last week that the Office of Fair Trading have launched a market survey of cross Solent ferry services, Island MP Andrew Turner is urging residents to take advantage of this opportunity.
It’s been nearly 20 years since the last full investigation into the Island ferry services and the OFT believe that the survey should give them further insight into the services, with a view to deciding whether or not to refer the matter to the Competition Commission for a full investigation.
The previous full investigation took place in 1990 with a report published in 1991.
Mr Turner said:
“It is almost 20 years since the previous investigations took place; much has changed since then including British legislation and European regulations. The ferries obviously have a massive effect on Island life. I firmly believe that we need a full investigation now – otherwise it will be many years before we get another opportunity. The OFT only take forward about 5% of the applications they receive so we have already overcome a massive hurdle – now we need to keep the momentum going.
“The OFT are seeking further evidence on three main issues; whether the market is working well, the prospects for new competition in the market and the importance of the ferries to the Island and its economy. I do urge Islanders and businesses to make sure their views are heard. What may seem obvious to Islanders may not be so apparent to off-Island experts. If you have any comments you wish to make they can be left on my website or you can make a submission to the OFT which should be in a specific format (see guidance at para 16 in the OFT document) “.
Mr Turner finished by saying that;
“We are seeking an investigation into the ferry services, this is not a witch hunt against the ferry operators. I do urge anyone who has positive comments to make sure they are also submitted to the OFT so that they can be properly considered.”