Isles MSP Tavish Scott is hopeful that the Scottish government will re-instate the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) for voluntary organisations and businesses after a meeting with finance minister John Swinney today.
The government restricted the benefit to personal travel without any consultation in April. Eligible travellers receive a 40 per cent reduction in air fares if they hold an ADS card.
At a meeting in Edinburgh, in advance of the Scottish budget, Mr Scott pressed for the islands to again benefit from a full ADS.
He said: “The Scottish government do accept that a very small amount of money is needed to give everyone in Shetland the ability to access 40 per cent reductions in air fares. But small amounts to government are huge sums to local voluntary and charitable bodies. So again I have pressed the case to Scottish ministers. John Swinney, the finance minister, will listen to a reasonable argument.
“Shetland has one. It will be stronger because many organisations are saying how much extra they are now paying as a result of the earlier changes.”
Mr Scott said he and his Orkney counterpart Liam McArthur were collating this information and will present it to government. “We hope that the cost of flying to essential events which benefit Shetland and the islands can be cut by a change in the Scottish government’s position. That would be welcome and I believe that after today’s discussion, that is more likely.”