Shetland’s Liberal Democrat candidate Beatrice Wishart has today detailed her priorities for improving Shetland’s transport links, building on Tavish Scott’s record of delivery for Shetland.
In launching her plan, Ms Wishart warned the SNP Government that that lifeline services should no longer be “held to ransom”. She said policies including the Sumburgh parking charges and the failure to deliver on the promise cheaper ferry fares are damaging the islands.
In contrast, the Liberal Democrat candidate pointed to her own party’s record of action for Shetland including the delivery of the air discount scheme, securing the principle of fair funding in the Scottish Government budget for internal ferry services and forcing the First Minister to commit to cheaper ferry fares.
Beatrice’s five-point plan includes:
- Full implementation of cheaper fares, now long overdue, including cabins. Demand all money not spent in the last 12 months on cheaper fares is recycled back into Shetland services.
- Immediately address the concerns of local people by increasing capacity for cabins, cars and for freight including increasing direct freight sailings every night at peak times.
- Reverse the SNP decision to remove business travel from the Air Discount Scheme and an end to parking charges at Sumburgh.
- A ministerial guarantee of fair funding for internal ferry services, ending the year on year ransom for funding.
- Demand ministers finally recognise the need to address fixed links and come forward with long term funding and a plan by the end of this Parliament.
Ms Wishart said:
“In Shetland, almost every issues starts and ends with transport. Good, reliable and accessible transport links are of vital importance to our communities.
“From the delivery of the air discount scheme to securing funding in the Scottish Government budget for internal ferry services and leading the campaign for cheaper ferry fares, I am proud of the Liberal Democrat record. In stark contrast, the SNP have failed to deliver on their promises and introduced parking charges at Sumburgh.
“It is totally unacceptable for SNP ministers to hold our lifeline services at ransom. We need a change, and my five-point plan sets out a positive alternative for Shetland that would make the real difference that local people deserve.
“As a matter of good faith, SNP ministers should listen to local demands and take all the money they have failed to spend on cheaper ferry fares over the last 12 months and recycle it into Shetland services. To choose not to would speak volumes about their priorities.”