Prestwick Airport demanded cash as the SNP Minister cannot guarantee the return of taxpayers’ money
Michael Matheson was days after preferred bidder deducted of a long-awaited sale blaming the coronavirus pandemic.
In an investigation by the Holyrood Committee, Matheson said “more than one interested party” came forward but there is still no certainty of a sale.
He also refused to provide a number on how much of the £ 43.4 million loan will be repaid.
In response to Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles, Matheson said, “The member will recognize that Prestwick is a significant employer in the Ayrshire economy.
“Not only directly with around 300 jobs at the location itself, but also many of the aerospace companies grouped around Prestwick are dependent on the airport, that is over 1,000 jobs.
“I think it is important to recognize that the investments made by the Scottish Government in Prestwick are not only helping to maintain the airport as an aviation facility and jobs at the airport, but also to support a very important aerospace sector within the airport the Scottish economy around Prestwick Airport.
“Any negotiation with a buyer depends on those negotiations at this point in time.”
In response to further requests from Labor MSP Colin Smyth, Matheson said: “You can be absolutely certain that we are adopting an approach that is in the best interests of taxpayers in Scotland, as well as those at the airport and its importance to the Ayrshire economy. “.
“We will work to ensure that we get the best return on taxpayers when a sale is made.”
Matheson was also unable to provide a timing for the sale as the Covid-19 pandemic will inevitably delay negotiations due to its impact on the aviation sector.