Shetland and Orkney MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur are to press in the Scottish Parliament for an urgent review of the government’s decision to exclude businesses and organisations in the public and voluntary sectors from the Air Discount Scheme (ADS).
They have put forward a motion pointing out that the result is even higher travel costs or missing out on the chance to take part in meetings and other events in the Scottish mainland, and are calling on other Highlands and Islands MSPs to show their support.
Mr McArthur said: “This was an issue which was raised again and again during the election. There was justified anger at the impact this cut is having on businesses and on the public and voluntary sectors. Many voluntary groups will now suffer geographical exclusion if they cannot afford to travel. So far my motion has attracted cross-party support, with the exception of the SNP. I hope all those elected to serve Highlands and Islands constituencies and the region will recognise the importance of persuading the Scottish government to think again.”
Mr Scott said: “Many people across Shetland have raised with me their concerns about this cut to the ADS which the SNP imposed without consultation. A review would show just how serious the impact of the cut is for island organisations. I know that, already, many Shetland voluntary and charitable bodies facing higher flight costs are not able to attend meetings that they wanted to attend. Shetland businesses are also facing increased costs. I cannot understand how the SNP can justify taking away this badly needed support from islanders in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. Liam’s motion is just the first of the many ways this issue is going to be raised.”