Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely says government regulation of ferry prices is “not necessarily the answer” and has called for cross-Solent operators to do more.
His comments come after the Government said it has no plans to regulate ferry costs in England – including the Isle of Wight.
A petition – gathering more than 17,000 signatures – was sent to Parliament to look into the cost of ferry travel.
However, in a statement, the Government rejected the calls saying – “there’s no evidence of market failure to require regulatory intervention” and that ferry companies provide “diverse services at a range of prices”.
Mr Seely has also waded in on the argument, telling Isle of Wight Radio that ferry prices do need to come down but it’s the operators themselves that need to do more:
“Regulating prices is not necessarily the answer. The ferry companies need to be more competitive, reduce the level of debt in the long-term, and have a public service obligation that they pay for.
“This is not about getting government money for the ferries. But making sure that they understand that they have a public service obligation and that they meet it.
“We need prices to come down but if you just keep saying regulate we’re not going to get anywhere. we need to do concrete things and that’s what i’m trying to do.”
The Government’s statement in response to ferry price regulation also reminded residents that “it is open to anyone to complain to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), citing as much evidence as possible.”
The full statement can be read on our website, here.