While parts of the Beacon Park Golf Course lie in ruins
Serco CEO Rupert Soames has admitted that he made a detour to his west-coast Highland estate during a trip from England to Inverness during lockdown. Rupert Soames was fiercely criticised after it emerged that he had made the journey to visit Caledonian Sleeper staff despite a Holyrood ban on non-essential travel.
But according to The National
the Serco boss also visited his Camusrory estate north of Mallaig, during the two-day trip. Soames had already been warned by the Scottish Government’s transport body before it was revealed he had visited the estate. A Transport Scotland statement read “We were not aware this visit was happening. The Scottish Government advice is absolutely clear – do not travel unless your journey is essential”.
Soames said in a statement “I confirm I visited a property I own on the west coast of Scotland for a short time this week. The property is one of the most remote in Scotland, only accessible by boat, and I currently employ three people there. The purpose of the visit, which was in my private time, was to conduct essential job interviews with candidates for the vacant position of resident manager, which is a vital role in such a remote community.
“It would be impractical and irresponsible to employ someone for that role without meeting them, or without them having the chance to meet me and to see where they would be living”.
Soames added “I believe the visit was essential for this small and remote community, and did not breach Scottish Government guidelines as it involves travel to and from a place of work, and could not have been conducted from home”.
“Companies House lists him as being a director of two firms, and a resigned director of 23 companies. Soames owns a half share of the Camusrory Estate at Knoydart. The other half is owned by Camusrory Estate, a company registered at a PO box number in Nassau, Bahamas”.
The First Minister has said that for people who live in England and work in “an essential job”, then travelling to Scotland is “perfectly legitimate”. However, she added “But if you are coming to Scotland and are not covered by those essential purposes, then you potentially would be in breach of the law”. Whoops!
The RMT Union, which represents Caledonian Sleeper workers, had already issued a strong condemnation on Soames’ trip before details of the Highlands detour emerged. Scotland RMT organiser Mick Hogg described the revelation as “absolutely astonishing”.
As is the state of the Beacon Park Golf Course.