Northern Isles MSPs demand transparency in RET process

Today, MSPs for the Northern Isles Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott have called for increased transparency about the steps being taken to introduce RET for Northern Isles ferry routes, after recent correspondence with the European Commission revealed that no specific complaint investigations are currently in process.

Following correspondence between Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, and the Commissioner for Competition, Margarethe Vestager, it has emerged that while the Commission received a complaint regarding the state aid implications of RET, it is not currently being investigated, as a result of the Scottish Government’s decision to delay implementation of the scheme.

While the Commission are working with the Scottish Government to address issues that could arise through the introduction of RET, this means that the Scottish Government are not currently required to wait for the outcome of this complaint.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“Islanders are waiting with baited breathe for news about RET. Will fares ever be cut by the 40% that the SNP boasted about on the west coast routes? Ministers should not underestimate the determination felt locally to see that the Government follow through on their commitment.

“While the European Commission and the Scottish Government do appear to be doing something, we now know that no specific complaint is currently being investigated. So, it is up to the Scottish Government to find a solution.”

Mr Scott added:

“The greater pressure this summer is capacity on board for both cabins and vehicles. Despite Islanders and export freight businesses telling the government they needed to create more capacity in the new tender to start this October, there is nothing new that helps in the government’s plans. There is little evidence that the government understand island needs on lifeline shipping services. ”

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