The Scottish Liberal Democrats will go to the polls with a commitment to reintroduce the Air Discount Scheme for business travel from the islands.
Since 2011, following a decision by the SNP Government, isles-based businesses have been excluded from the the Air Discount Scheme. This decision was taken with no prior consultation.
SNP Ministers also refused to undertake any assessment of the impact on isles businesses, a decision described at the time as "bizarre" and "deeply disappointing."
The Air Discount Scheme was first brought to Scotland's island communities in 2006, by then Liberal Democrat Transport Minister and Shetland MSP, Tavish Scott.
Commenting, Liam McArthur:
"ADS has been a huge benefit to our islands since it was introduced by my colleague, Tavish Scott back in 2006. It has reduced the cost of travel on our lifeline air services, helping better connect out community to mainland.
"When the SNP decided to cut ADS in 2011, they did so without any prior consultation. While Ministers were later forced to u-turn into allowing local charities and voluntary groups back into the scheme, island businesses have not been so fortunate. As a result, many local firms have seen their costs increase and their competitive position undermined. .
"That goes against the principles of ADS when it was first introduced. If we are to sustain our island communities, we must level the playing field. By pushing up costs for island businesses, the SNP has made that task harder. Scottish Liberal Democrats believe the original principles remain sound. That is why we are committed to reversing this damaging, ill-conceived cut to ADS".
Notes to Editors:
- The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto will to "Reintroduce the Air Discount Scheme for business travel from the islands."