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McArthur: Government must break RET deadlock and back island communities

September 13, 2018 6:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today expressed disappointment at comments from Transport Secretary Michael Matheson indicating that the introduction of cheaper ferry fares on Orkney routes will be further delayed.

Mr Matheson confirmed that the Scottish Government was facing legal challenges that may delay the policy for 18 months or more.

Mr McArthur said:

"People in Orkney have been denied access to the Scottish Government's cheap ferry fares scheme for a decade. It now seems the long wait for a fair crack of the whip is set to go on and on.

"Why this has been allowed to happen is still not clear, though it appears the government failed to do the legwork to get operators on board or seek early advice from the relevant competition authorities.

"Either way, with the Government and operators deadlocked, it is people in Orkney and those seeking to access these lifeline services that are left counting the cost as they continue to pay over the odds.

"Ministers have also been less than forthcoming with details of what is going on. That has only added to the growing sense of frustration felt by people in both Orkney and Shetland."