Cornwall

Penzance ferry funding is 'not assured', minister says

Penzance harbour
Image caption The plans included replacing two ferries with one larger vessel

No assurances can be given that the government will fund a proposed new ferry link between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, a minister has said.

Plans for a £44m terminal in Penzance to help boost links between the county and the islands had been put forward.

The Department of Transport said schemes awarded conditional approval by the previous government may not be supported by the current coalition.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said "difficult decisions" were to be made.

Coalition cuts

People living in the Isles of Scilly rely heavily on the ferry link to transport tourists and supplies from the mainland.

The new scheme was proposing a new ferry terminal at Battery Rocks in Penzance.

Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee recommended that it be approved but the final decision is due to be made by the secretary of state.

The coalition government recently announced plans for £6.2bn of public spending cuts for 2010-2011, meaning many schemes across the county, including the ferry, could be delayed or even cancelled.

Mr Hammond said: "The point is that we have to make some difficult decisions following the spending review.

"That spending review will take place over the summer and what we've said this week is that it doesn't make sense for local authorities generally across the country to go on spending money on schemes until we are able to confirm which schemes will go ahead immediately, which will be postponed and which may perhaps not be able to go ahead."

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