Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today criticised the Scottish Government for continuing to exclude Orkney and Shetland from their cheap ferry fare scheme.
From today [Monday the 26th of October] all ferry routes on the Clyde and Hebrides network will receive the Road equivalent tariff (RET), a cheap ferry fare scheme that dates back to 2008.
Routes on the Clyde and Hebrides will see fare prices cut, on average, by 44% for a single passenger fare and 55% for a car fare.
Ferry routes to Orkney and Shetland, however, remain excluded from the Scottish Government scheme.
Orkney MSP Liam McArthur, who will seek to raise the matter with the Transport Minister in the Scottish Parliament this week, said:
“Today’s announcement by the Scottish Government is a re-hash of news we already know. However, confirmation that cheap ferry fares are now available on all routes on the Clyde and Hebrides network will come as a blow to people in Orkney.
“Along with Shetland, our islands are now the only ones excluded from this scheme. This decision shows that helping local people across the Northern Isles is not at the top of the Scottish Government’s priorities.
“Reducing the cost of getting to and from our islands can deliver enormous economic and social benefits. However, by excluding Orkney and Shetland from this cheap ferry fare scheme, the Scottish Government is putting our local economies at a disadvantage compared to those on the west coast.
“Scottish Ministers have a responsibility to all island communities. They should not be picking and choosing which islands to support and which to ignore. That is not fair, just or acceptable and Ministers must now come clean about when they plan to extend their cheap ferry fare scheme to Orkney and Shetland.”
Mr McArthur is calling on local people to back the campaign to see Orkney receive the Scottish Government's cheap ferry fare scheme and to show their support here: www.liammcarthur.org.uk/fairferries