Northern Isles MSPs Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott have today welcomed the news of fares reductions by paying tribute to the campaigners who achieved it.
Reacting to the news, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Over the last ten years, people in Orkney have watched as communities on the west coast benefited from cheaper ferry fares. Their demands for fairness and equal treatment fell on deaf ears, as this SNP government and SNP MSPs for the Highlands & Islands argued that introducing a scheme for the Northern Isles would not be in our best interests. That was and always has been utter nonsense.
“I am delighted that the Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf has now listened and taken action. To his credit, during his short time as Transport Minister, Mr Yousaf has always accepted the need to reverse the unfairness in the SNP government’s approach to ferry fares. This proposed cut to fares is long overdue but very welcome.
“It will be important to study the detail of the government’s plans, and it is essential that all routes across the Pentland Firth have a chance to benefit from the funding available. In the meantime, however, I am grateful to all those in Orkney and Shetland who supported the campaign for fair ferry fares. It has been a long time coming but shows the importance of standing up for what's right and not taking no for answer”.
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott added:
“Shetland deserves the same reduction in fares that the Scottish Government introduced on the west coast of Scotland. Islanders there have benefited from a 50% reduction in fares for some time. So it is good news the Scottish Government have begun to address the ferry fares discrimination they imposed on the northern isles.
“I trust that once the detail is clear, Shetlanders and the islands economy will also benefit from a 50% fare reduction. The SNP used to say that it wasn't possible to reduce our ferry fares. Their change of heart is down to the islands refusing to accept no and I pay tribute to everyone across Shetland who has been involved in making that case.”