Petition for cheaper ferry fares smashes 1,000 mark


Over 1,000 people in Orkney have signed a petition demanding cheaper ferry fares on routes serving Orkney.

Orkney Liberal Democrat candidate Liam McArthur launched the petition calling on the Scottish Government to extend its cheaper ferry fares scheme to routes between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.

In the last week, the petition passed the 1,000 signature mark, with supporters signing up from right across Orkney.

Mr McArthur has said that this wave of local support for his petition confirms the "immense frustration and anger at the the way the current SNP Government has treated Orkney."

The Scottish Government currently subsidises routes on Scotland's West Coast through the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) scheme, which has cut average fares by 44% for passengers and 55% for cars.

In contrast, Orkney and Shetland has been excluded from support, with investment in Northern Isles ferry services forecast to drop by £5.2million between 2013-2016, according to figures published by the Scottish Government in response to parliamentary questions.

Commenting, Liam McArthur said:

"Reducing the cost of ferry fares can deliver enormous economic and social benefits for our island communities. Yet ever since the SNP introduced its cheaper ferry fares scheme on West Coast routes in needs of the Orkney community have been ignored by SNP Ministers.

"That is no doubt why over 1,000 people in Orkney have demonstrated that they believe, like me, that the exclusion of Orkney from cheaper ferry fare funding is unjustified and unfair.

"While tens of millions of pounds of public money have been spent cutting fares on West Coast routes, Orkney has been let down by this SNP Government for 9 years. It is not acceptable for any government of any political persuasion to pick and choose which islands to support and which to ignore.

"My petition shows the strength of feeling locally on this issue. Their views cannot continue to be ignored. Rather than vague promises about consultation, we need urgent action on cheaper ferry fares, and that is what I will continue to fight for if re-elected as Orkney's MSP."

ENDS.

Mr McArthur's petition can be accessed at http://www.liammcarthur.org.uk/fairferries


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