Scott claims manifesto pledges would bring benefits to islanders

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Shetland candidate for the Liberal Democrats Tavish Scott claimed today his party’s election manifesto includes key pledges to take action on housing, air travel and broadband which would help islanders.

Mr Scott, who as party leader is facing a difficult election campaign nationally, said a “range of policies important to Shetland” had been included in the manifesto. He said the document focused on setting out “realistic” policies for public services and the creation of jobs.

It includes a commitment to restore the application of the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) to business travel in and out of the isles. The SNP is continuing with ADS, which Mr Scott introduced in 2006, but has removed the discount from businesses and public bodies.

With a waiting list of around 1,000 for homes in Shetland, the manifesto includes a commitment to building new social houses.

Mr Scott said: “The shortage of affordable housing remains an important issue. Despite the sterling efforts of the Hjaltland Housing Association and of the council we still need more affordable homes. I have made sure that our manifesto includes new funding for social housing. I want to make sure Shetland gets its rightful share of this.”

He pledged to provide funding which would “help to get superfast broadband to places which the market cannot reach”. He wants to see such funding being used “to help Shetland Broadband deliver broadband across the isles”.

Other major policies include reforming Scottish Water and abolishing Scottish Enterprise, replacing it with regional development banks. The Lib Dems are also opposed to the establishment of a single police force and want to “cut red tape” on small businesses.

Mr Scott added: “Our policies for the local delivery of services are particularly relevant in the islands where the potential for other parties’ centralising agenda to damage vital services is greatest. Whether it is our fire and police services, or even social care, only the Scottish Liberal Democrats can be relied upon to oppose central belt centralisation.”

The Scottish Lib Dems – facing a backlash against unpopular public spending cutbacks from the Tory-Lib Dem coalition at Westminster – suffered a fresh blow on Monday when party veteran John Farquhar Munro backed the SNP’s Alex Salmond for another term as first minster.

Meanwhile independent Shetland candidate Billy Fox has renewed his attack on the coalition’s hike in North Sea oil tax for showing a “lack of regard” for Scottish industry.

“Oil companies do pay their taxes,” he said. “[George] Osborne’s budget proposal would increase this from 75 per cent to 81 per cent for mature fields subject to Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) and from 50 per cent to 62 per cent on fields not subject to PRT, a steady income which has kept the country on its feet for the last 35 years.

“It would make more sense if the Lib/Cons concentrated their efforts on extracting tax from those companies who don’t pay their taxes, instead of undermining business confidence in the North Sea oil industry.”

* You can read the Scottish Liberal Democrats’ election manifesto in full here:


Add Your Comment
  • Robert Wishart

    • April 6th, 2011 8:59

    Once again Tavish fails to mention the biggest local issue in a generation. He is in favour of the windfarm but refuses to admit it. Why?

  • john ridland

    • April 6th, 2011 12:24

    I have voted for the lib,s all my life …… NOT THIS TIME TAVIS
    Selling your sole to the torys for a sniff o power…… shame shame…!

  • Ron McMillan

    • April 6th, 2011 16:46

    Mr Scott has been unfortunate to take over his Party’s Scottish leadership at a point when it is about to fall into thy abyss in upcoming polls, and rightly so. The abandonment of previously cherished Lib-Dem policy points by Clegg in his unseemly rush to share government with the Tories makes this inevitable, and justified.

    Clegg’s toadying to the Tories has been a self-destruct button that will make the Lib-Dems disappear at the next General Election. At a time like this, it is only natural that Mr Scott concentrates on local Shetland issues that might ensure he can hold his safe seat.


  • Colin Hunter

    • April 6th, 2011 19:17

    Did Nick Clegg truly have any choice in the matter? I don’t see that he has sold his soul for anything. If anyone was between a rock and a hard place after the last election it was him! I would be interested to know what people would have said had he gone into coalition with Labour and Gordon Brown, bearing in mind it was them who dug the hole we now find ourselves in. Cameron and Clegg have an unenviable task of trying to fill in that hole while small minded people who can’t see the bigger picture are still trying to dig it ever deeper! Worse still, he could have done nothing at all and been an “Also Ran” on the oppositon benches (again!) while condemning the country to 5 years of minority Government which would have achieved precisely damn all and may even have sent us down the road of Greece, Ireland and Portugal! Damned if you do and Damned if you don’t spring to mind here!

  • Ron McMillan

    • April 8th, 2011 6:36

    Of course Clegg had a choice. A minority government would never have lasted the full five-year term, and a new General Election would have given him the chance to undo the damage to the Lib-Dem name he had already done with his wishy-washy leadership. Instead, he so desperately wanted to share the space beneath the Downing St desk with Cameron that he sold his party’s credibility down the river.

    If you think that Britain is NOT already going the way of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, you are kidding yourself. Speak to bankers and economists: the likelihood of the UK having to go to the IMF for a bail-out is very very high, never mind how hard the government are trying to avoid that possibility even being discussed.

    For that, Labour has to take a large chunk of the blame, but the roots of this bankruptcy go further back, to the destructive laissez-faire financial sector de-regulation of the Thatcher/Major days. America is close to bankrupt for precisely the same reasons – de-regulation policies inflicted by Thatcher’s best pal, Ronald Raygun. Banks new best, we were told. Look at us now.

  • Colin Hunter

    • April 9th, 2011 14:22

    It is no doubt true that the de-regulation of banking has led to the current trend of the piggies in the trough culture we now find in that industry. Why then should I ask the very people, bankers and economists, who’s snouts are firmly in that trough, their opinion about anything? They are the ones, the (SIR!) Fred Goodwins of this earth at who’s door the blame for our crisis truly lies, and, as such, are beneath contempt. Far from waltzing off with a £350,000 a year pension he and his cronies should have been locked up in the same way Nick Leeson was. After all, they brought RBS and the entire country almost to its knees by their shenanigans and were then bailed out by Brown, Darling & Co. To be then awarded a 6 figure pension is not only immoral, it’s obscene! The powers that be pursued Ronald Biggs across 3 continents for less! The truth of the matter is that Clegg has made his bed and must now lie in it. There is no doubt that his actions have caused great consternation among Lib Dem supporters north of the border where Tory support is still at an all time low, a result of Maggie’s poll tax experiment. But has he done enough damage to cause the Lib Dems to lose support here? Time will tell.


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