Government must protect ferry routes

Commenting on reports that submissions to the Scottish Government’s ferry review are criticising the scale of public subsidies and calling for the Calmac monopoly to be broken up, Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson Alison McInnes said:

“Good responsive ferry services are key to building more diverse communities and encouraging families and young people to live on our islands.

“These ferry services are lifelines to some of the most remote communities in Scotland. Public subsidies were introduced, quite rightly, to protect routes that would otherwise not be commercially viable.

“The Scottish Government must not break up Calmac’s monopoly if it would jeopardise these links.

“In opposition the SNP were adamant that they would not break up Calmac and vehemently opposed to putting these routes out to tender, but in Government, SNP Ministers have finally realised that they’re subject to EU regulations, just like everyone else.

“If Ministers are serious about protecting links to these communities, they should announce how they will introduce Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) to remote and rural areas. So far, the SNP have only been willing to introduce RET in their patch, the Western Isles. All islanders and remote communities deserve to benefit from this scheme.”