18th November 2018
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General Election candidates clash over ferry fares

Two of the Shetland and Orkney parliamentary candidates are at loggerheads over what the road equivalent tariff (RET) ferry fares could mean for the isles, if it were ever introduced.

Liberal Democrat candidate Alistair Carmichael has described the exclusion of ferry services to Orkney and Shetland from RET as “unjustifiable”.

His comments came as the Scottish government announced the inclusion of ferry services in the Firth of Clyde in the scheme resulting in cuts of 55 per cent for a single car ticket.

But SNP parliamentary candidate Danus Skene said Mr Carmichael “should do his sums” before demanding RET, which links ferry fares to the cost of travelling the equivalent distance on land.

Mr Carmichael has always been in favour of RET for the Northern Isles. He said: “Ferry services to almost every other island community will have this advantage apart from those to Orkney and Shetland. That is unjustifiable on any view.

“Local people will have heard everything that the transport minister said when he launched the scheme. He spoke about the importance of lifeline ferry services and the benefits that would come for local tourism and other industries from RET.

“He is quite right about this so why are Orkney and Shetland to be treated differently? Are our tourist businesses less deserving of support?

“MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur have fought for this since the SNP first started this discrimination in 2007. Throughout that time the SNP list MSPs that are supposed to represent us have stayed silent.

“Local people realise that they can not rely on the SNP to stand up for them.”

However Mr Skene said Mr Carmichael should not get over-excited about the absence of RET in Orkney and Shetland.

Mr Skene said: “Alistair Carmichael and the LibDems are having a good moan again that some island ferry fares in the west of Scotland are about to be brought down by application of RET. Why are the Northern Isles being excluded?

“They should do some arithmetic. The answer is that if RET were applied to the Northern Isles ferries over which the Scottish government has any control – the NorthLink services – then the costs would go up. Transport Scotland is explicitly clear about this.

“The Scottish government has no intention of misapplying the principles of RET, designed to moderate the very high mile-for-mile ferry rates in the west [of Scotland] so as to disadvantage the Northern Isles.”

Minister for transport and islands MSP Derek McKay said: “I’m well aware of the crucial role our lifeline ferry services play for the communities they serve, so I’m delighted to confirm that the RET roll-out [in the Firth of Clyde] will bring significant fare reductions for passengers.

“The roll-out of RET on other routes has been a real success, bringing benefits to local economies and boosting the tourist trade, so I’m sure this will come as welcome news to locals and visitors.”

About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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77 comments

  1. Ali Inkster

    Maybe the candidates could lay out exactly how the fares will be affected. From Northlinks site I see it would cost £338.10 for a family of 4 to go south with the car a distance of 370 miles return, now for them to travel the equivalent by road would cost them a tank of fuel in the region of £60 – £100 depending on the size of their fuel tank. even adding on wear and tear to the car to the price of the journey there is still a huge difference. The dearest fare I could find on the western isles routes was £155 for a family of 4 with a car. When you add in the money spent on board by a family overnight on northlink you can see why it is so prohibitively expensive for folks to get off the island.
    For my mind if the Scottish or UK governments can’t afford to sort this out then it is high time we told both to do one and sorted it out for ourselves while we still have the resources to do it.

    Reply
    • Johan Adamson

      I think thats right Ali. They just say our fares are low, excluding the car and the cabin. They have never understood that it is a long overnight journey and you NEED a cabin. When those ferries were built the designers never took into account that we needed to sleep in 14 hours and transport sheep etc. They thought it was a short sea crossing for tourists only. I would say its around £500 for 4 with cabin and car, RET would never be that much.

      Reply
  2. Sam Thomson

    SNP will never push this through for the north isles. The reason for this being that the North Isles are the least likely to vote for them.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      it would appear Sam, that “Northlink” is a private independent company, I’m not quite sure if the Scottish government have some kind of deal going with Caledonian MacBrayne?…[All Caledonian MacBrayne routes benefit from RET] I know that in 1990 the Shetland ferries were subsidised, but I’m not sure if that is still the case?…perhaps Northlink refused to do a deal?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        Charlie, good to hear from you, where have you been all this time, Robin could have used your support, he’s taken a hell of a doing on here on his own – I felt sorry for him in the end!

        Tut, tut, ‘hiding behind the skirts’ of the arithmetic mistress there, Charlie?

        And “Please Miss, Tavish Scott didn’t do his homework last week, either”, doesn’t get you off.

        Shetland pays £80-odd million per year excess tax over and above what comes back in funding. Surely, if RET doesn’t help, another way could be found to eliminate or, at least, reduce this anomaly – after all these years of inequality between the islands?

        You do profess to believe in a “more equal society”, do you not?

      • Johan Adamson

        Northlink bid for the route and are given a substantial subsidy. But so are Cal Mac as they could not survive on the ret.

      • Robin Stevenson

        I appreciate your sympathy John, although I’m really not quite sure what it’s for? You seemed to have asked more questions than answered, and the ones where you were asked and became stumped, you’ve simply ignored, or “blamed the messenger”?

        Eventually when you [grudgingly] conceded that wind parks, in actuality, would take up a fraction of the area you initially suggested, you then went on to create a ridiculous scenario of having them placed in the one location, you could, at least have held your hand up and said “fair cop”?

        I still wait [with bated breath] for the figures of your other 2 outrageous claims of ALL this money the SNP [allegedly] stole from Shetland?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        I did not and do not, “grudgingly” or otherwise, “concede that wind parks take up a fraction of the area I suggested”.

        Denmark has gained a reputation as the world leader in renewable technology, in particular, wind farms but it seems the Danes are going off wind farms in a big way:

        https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009217478952&fref=ts

        Well, Robin, it isn’t a pretty picture, is it?

      • Robin Stevenson

        As I said in previous posts John, Scotland has no need for that many windfarms, both Germany and Denmark [and probably others] have got it quite wrong, We should only produce enough farms that are capable of supplying us with 100% energy when the wind blows, with a conventional station as back up. [until such times as we can – long term – harness the excess]

      • John Tulloch

        Robin, what you’re telling us is that Nicola has ‘kicked the “Saudi Arabia of Renewable Energy” goal into the long grass.’

        So that’s another policy nonsense of her predecessor’s she has put a stop to – I could get to like her if she carries on like this.

        ‘Fracking’ ban to go next, Nicola?…… after the election, of course!

      • Robin Stevenson

        John, it’s really not rocket science, IF there is a market and profitability for excess energy, or indeed, a way of storing energy long term, then all good and well, however, as we’d don’t have the technology as yet, or perhaps the buyers, it would seem rather a waste to overproduce [at this time]
        Why would we need to “Frack” if we’re producing more than enough energy for our needs? unless ofc, it could be sold to make profit leading to a fund?

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Straight in, ‘head first’, as usual.

        I agree it isn’t ‘rocket science’, alas, it seems to be beyond you and the SNP.

        You ask:

        “Why would we need to “Frack” if we’re producing more than enough energy for our needs? unless ofc, it could be sold to make profit leading to a fund?”

        “Erm..” .. to keep the light on, perhaps?

        See my article in this week’s ‘Sounding Off’ for chapter and verse.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Sorry John, I presumed you’d given up on that nonsense, I thought you were just doing that “Sounding Off”?….Obviously you have your ideas of how to “keep the light on”, using conventional power stations and fossil fuels, beyond that you see the future for power lies in Nuclear energy,…was that it or did I miss something?

        Anyway, suffice to say, I disagree from the reasons I’ve posted. I appreciate you tried hard to dispel the practicality of my proposal, however, once we realized that these windfarms were taking up a mere 5% of your estimations, I’m afraid your argument became quite ridiculous.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        You go ahead and let Longannet close, I’m content to wait and see whether there’s yet another U-turn, this time on ‘fracking’ – AFTER the election!

        The problem you have is lack of credibility. I have spent my working life in power stations, including running a grid and the last 12 years of it was spent working in renewable energy, with hydro and wind turbines, so I actually understand what I’m talking about.

        By contrast, where energy is concerned, neither Alex, Nicola, Fergus nor you are able to distinguish your ‘humerus from your coccyx’.

      • Ali Inkster

        “Wrong again Robin” The windfarms need every bit of space that they take up it was laid out for you to see yet you continue with your fantasy. Why are you taking so much time to comment on Shetland and our affairs when you have absolutely no knowledge of either?

      • John Tulloch

        Ali,

        Me Granny wis wint ta say “money maks da mare ta go, whidder sho haes legs or no.”

  3. Charlie Gallagher

    As Danus said Alistair should revisit his arithmetic. People seem to forget that our route already receives a very substantial subsidy from the Scottish Government and this ‘Subsidy’ has to be factored-in to the ‘RET’ calculation. To Sam I would say that if the SNP were playing the same bribery game so loved by the Lib/Dems and others, then a huge subsidy to our service would be a top priority not the other way round. I would also ask, “why did our own Tavish not do something to introduce ‘RET’ when he was Transport Minister in the coalition Government with the Red Tories? Could it be that his Civil Servants could at least do their arithmetic?”

    Reply
    • Johan Adamson

      If it were RET I would not pay £500 to get to Aberdeen and back

      Reply
    • Robert Smith

      Maybe Danus and the SNP could learn to read their own report.
      The link below shows unequivocally that under RET, ferry fares to the Northern Isles would in fact fall.
      19% fare reduction for foot passengers Aberdeen Lerwick
      16.5% fare reduction foot passenger fare from Kirkwall to Lerwick
      65.7% fare reduction for foot passenger Stromness/Scrabster
      47.1% fare reduction for car Stromness/Scrabster
      62.5% fare reduction for commercial vehicle Stromness/Scrabster

      If you want misinformation, vote SNP
      If you want facts, vote UKIP

      See table 11.7 for pertinent facts.
      http://www.gov.scot/resource/doc/935/0115577.doc

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        Just In case Robin can’t find it here are the relavent figures

        2008 RET % change 2008 RET % change 2008 RET % change
        Passenger Passenger Car Car CVs CVs
        Scrabster – Stromness £14.50 £4.98 -65.7% £43.20 £22.86 -47.1% £230.18 £86.44 -62.5%
        Aberdeen – Kirkwall £27.10 £24.07 -11.2% £110.50 £110.50 0% £370.48 £370.48 0%
        Kirkwall – Lerwick £20.50 £17.12 -16.5% £84.00 £84.00 0% £278.24 £278.24 0%
        Aberdeen – Lerwick £16.30 £13.21 -19.0% £72.20 £72.26 0% £231.36 £231.36 0%

        So come on Robin, Charlie, Douglas and most of all Danus what spin will you put on these figures?

      • Danus Skene

        We are all trying to get the best deal for the Isles. Before thinking ahead, let’s look at the immediate situation.

        I have the following statement from Transport Scotland :-

        “The formula used to calculate RET in the 2011 evaluation is out of date, and does not reflect the current RET formula or the current fare pricing situation on the Northern Isles ferry routes.

        “An up to date formula was applied in 2012 as part of the Ferries Plan and showed that introducing RET would continue to increase fares on a number of services. Using the most up to date formula from this year does not change this position.

        “The Ferries Plan was therefore clear that RET would be introduced to the Northern Isles over a much longer timeframe, in order that no one would pay more for an RET fare than their current standard single fare.”

        They add a couple of notes :-

        “The RET formulae used in the 2011 evaluation dates back to 2008.

        “The RET formulae was reviewed and amended in 2012. It was updated in subsequent years (2013, 2014 and 2015) to reflect the standard inflationary fare increases applied elsewhere.

        “The Ferries Plan, published in December 2012, made clear that Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) will form the basis for the fares structure for all lifeline ferry services, across all sailings, ensuring more people benefit from lower fares.

        “The Ferries Plan notes that RET will be introduced to the Northern Isles beyond the term of this Parliament. Consideration of how RET will impact on the Northern Isles will be given during the course of this year, as part of the wider work required to review the RET formula.”

        Looking at the Aberdeen runs, the 2011 report figures, spelled out by Ali, show that RET then would make foot passengers a touch cheaper, and would not affect vehicles — and vehicle costs are what the principle of RET is basically about. The up to date RET figures, with inflation increases since the 2008 data, would take vehicle costs way up. Imposition of RET now would mean unacceptable increase prices.

        Let’s look ahead now. What Transport Scotland are saying is that RET will come to the Aberdeen run when current prices catch up with RET “beyond the term of this Parliament”. I don’t think that’s good enough. Central Government subsidy of Northlink is huge, but broadly justified by the contribution of Shetland to the Scottish and British economies. Prices should be kept below RET to keep Shetland produce competitive and in fairness to Shetland residents in view of our distance from the mainland.

        In the medium term, pressure on Transport Scotland not to allow rates to edge up to RET levels would be best exerted by strong island SNP representation to affect the detail of policy. In the long run, the answer is surely to have greater island control on the management of the services. OIOF and beyond should be demanding island involvement in the contracts and other decisions, and enough island control of the money involved to ensure that our needs are met.

        Meanwhile, two other points. First, it looks from the 2011 report with its 2008 information as if the RET logic for Stromness-Scrabster might be different, even now. We need the updated facts.

        Second, it is good that internal ferries are managed by the two Councils. We do NOT need central government interference in their management. The support that is needed is with capital costs, for fleet replacement and for piers.

      • John Tulloch

        Thanks for that informative explanation.

        Does the RET calculation include or exlude items such as:

        * Car purchase and does it assume people buy new cars?
        * MOT, licence and insurance?

        These are what accountants refer to as “Capital” spending and “Overheads”.

        Or does it include, simply, the cost of fuel, oil and other fluids, servicing and wear and tear?

        These are what accountants would call “Marginal Costs” which relate to what it costs to make the car wheels turn for one mile.

        Now, people don’t buy cars for the purpose of “gyaain Sooth apo da bo-at”, they already own them for daily use so the capital and overheads costs are what accountants might call “sunk costs”, costs which have already been incurred and cannot be recovered and which are thus irrelevant to travel with a car on the ferry.

        If a family decides to drive a return trip of 360 miles (180 miles x 2), depending on the car, the cost of the fuel will be, say, £60. If we allow, say, 50 percent added on to cover other mileage related costs, that will take us to £90 for our journey.

        That is a far cry from the £500 price suggested by Johan for equivalent ferry travel.

        £90 for a car and family is where you should start if you want tomtalk about RET.

      • Robert Smith

        Danus,
        Waffle.
        So let me get this straight, the SNP’s original RET formula gave the Islands significant reduction on fares so the SNP changed the formula so that we didn’t?

        Thanks for clearing that up.

        Vote UKIP

      • Johan Adamson

        I will say it again, cos you didnt hear – £500 before you get to Aberdeen. Do any other people pay that for a lifeline ferry? Flying can even be cheaper if you book early. That cannot be correct for a lifeline service.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Don’t ya just love the way that the Lib/Dems are only NOW saying “hey where’s oor share”?…maybe Mr Carmichael could create a new free shuttle service? I’m led to believe that “balloons” float right?

      Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      We receive no subsidies Charlie, in fact it is Shetland that is subsidising Scotland and the rest of the UK. We subsidise them quite heavily and we really should be looking to reduce this subsidy considerably in these times of austerity.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Ok Ali, I’ll do a deal. stop subsidising England, and we’ll split the difference? 😉 [with what you’ll save you could probably get yer own ferry anyway]

      • Ali Inkster

        How about Shetland and the rest of the UK stop subsidising scotland, and we keep our resources for ourselves. And I will ask you again. What is someone with scant knowledge of Shetland and our affairs doing spending so much time commenting on them? It is almost a full time job for you.

  4. David Spence

    For the sake of the debate, I would be interested in how much it costs Serco – or any other company doing the lifeline services for the islands – to run the ferry with and without (minimum amount of passengers) a full board of passengers ( I am pretty sure the figures would be around somewhere).

    Yes, the ferry is heavily subsidised by the Scottish Office, but by how much in comparison to the actual cost to the company running the service?

    As Ali has given some figures, I would ask a) how much is actual cost? b) how much is subsidised? and c) how much is profit for the company?

    Reply
  5. Gordon Harmer

    There is one thing to come from the above article and that is that Danus will toe the party line before he does any good for Shetland and Shetlanders. This is one of his first skirmishes with Alistair and he immediately takes the party line and stands up for the SNP rather than the us who pay over the odds for our lifeline ferry service. Sam I think you have hit one of the SNPs nails right on its head we in Shetland will not receive anything back from the SNP compared to what we put into the Scottish / British economy simply because we voted no last September. It is a wonder they have not told us to use the trust fund to compensate the high ferry fares.

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      You still seem to be harking back to the referendum, Gordon. That’s over. If Shetland is going to make the right choice at the election, we need to look at the policies each party is offering now, in the General election campaign.

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        That is just where you are wrong Robert, Sturgeon said on Radio Scotland on Monday her aim was independence, tell her the referendum is in the past and she lost and when she and the SNP accept that I will mention it no more. I notice you had no comment on the subject of the above article, have you sworn allegiance to the SNP as well, are you toeing the party line rather than stand up for a better deal for Shetlanders on our life line ferry service. The above article shows what the right decision will be in May, it will be a decision for Shetland and not a party that want you to sign total allegiance to it whether you agree with its policies, leadership or for that matter other members.

      • John Tulloch

        Yes, Robert, and at their track record, too!!

      • Robert Sim

        @Gordon – it’s no secret that the SNP’s aim is Scottish independence – but the SNP is not campaigning for that in this UK election.

        On my views on the ferry service, of course I want cheaper fares. Who wouldn’t? I am not saying anything about the dispute over RET, however, because there are conflicting views and I don’t know enough about the matter to give my opinion. I am happy to wait and find out more.

        As regards your ad hominen nonsense about my “toeing the party line”, I think you will find that the rule which you and others have been making much of recently applies to SNP MPs and that group only. So to say that the SNP is “…a party that want you to sign total allegiance to it whether you agree with its policies, leadership or for that matter other members” is simply factually incorrect.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Of course they are Robert, by holding the balance of power they can bargain, and depending on who is in power after May will dictate what tactics the SNP use to get what they want. A Labour government will be easy for them to get more powers by doing a deal to vote through Labour policies. If the Tories win they will once again raise the old mantra we didn’t vote for a Tory government and use that as a lever to gain support for UDI. This election is a stepping stone for the SNP to get what they want regardless of the fact that we voted no. The good cop bad cop game Sturgeon and Salmond are playing with the UK electorate is designed to influence the vote vote south of the border and it has one aim, independence.

      • Ali Inkster

        It cold just work too, most English I know are fed up t the back teeth with whining from scots nationalists. If the vote in September had been from the whole UK, Scotland would now be well and truly screwed on it’s way to socialist hell.

      • John Tulloch

        And neither Shetland nor Orkney would be going there with them!

      • Robin Stevenson

        “Socialism”, as opposed to what Ali? “Capitalism”?…where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and the divide between the two gets bigger, as the poor wait for the “Drip down”, effect to kick in?
        How’s that going to happen with another 5 years and another £30 Billion of austerity cuts?

      • John Tulloch

        Better that than a Greece-style economic implosion brought on by Ed Miliband with Alex and Nicola pulling his strings for “Spend, spend, spend!”

        My Granny used to say “borrow, borrow, pay ageen is aa’ da sorrow!”

      • Gordon Harmer

        Robin, I knew you where someone else and using a pseudonym, you are really David Spence aren’t you.

      • Robin Stevenson

        A rather odd comment John? are you saying that it was the SNP that has caused the UKs £1.5 Trillion debt?

        http://www.nationaldebtclock.co.uk/

        Let’s bring it closer to home, let’s say you have a choice between paying off your mortgage £100k, over the next 5 years, using every available penny you have, but no holidays, no repairs, no nights out, no food, no clothing, no much, for you or any of your family?….. Hey presto, NO debt after 5 years….

        OR, you borrow £20k to buy a wee business, the business generates a rather healthy income, over and above your normal income, in fact not only can you afford to pay back the £20k but you’re reducing the £100k mortgage without losing out in ANY of life’s comforts for you and your family?…Hey presto, NO debt and NO suffering after 5 years. [plus you still have the wee business]

        Austerity doesn’t work, plain and simple. and [unlike Greece] Scotland pay their taxes and always did.

      • John Tulloch

        Wrong again, Robin. What “business” are you and Nicola going to buy for us to make us rich and pay off the debt?

        Politicians can’t pick winners, if there’s a white elephant among the horses that’s the one they go for, every time.

        That’s why we’re covering the country with wind farms and closing Longannet.

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin,

        Scotland has had her share, pro rata, of the debt and all you and the SNP have done is complain they didn’t take on even more debt.

        A former work colleague of mine used to say “It’s toffee an ‘apenny, lad, ya can’t ‘ave both!”

        The SNP doesn’t seem to understand that fundamental law of of economics. 🙂

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrong again Robin. When you are in debt of course you do that bit extra to gain that extra income to pay of your debt, but take it from me you give up a hell of a lot to pay that debt off. Few holidays, no extra car, or fancy clothes. And you work your ass of from morning till night till the debt is clear. And even then you can’t relax because who the hell knows what is round the next corner. Now your in the phase where you fix the roof while the sun is shinning. If you don’t do it now it will cost more after the gales and rain do there bit. So you make the most of these sunny days, you don’t go on the piss with the credit card, and only a complete scumbag goes on the piss with the kids college fund which is exactly what the SSnp are proposing.

      • Robin Stevenson

        This is a rather confusing argument for me John? So are you saying “Speculate to accumulate” is a Bad thing then? and IF so can you name ANY business that hasn’t had to use “capital” to get started?
        It would seem that my little scenario is lost on you, never mind, I’m sure there are other readers that’ll “get the drift”?
        Your contradiction with regard to “Longannet” also has me confused? on one hand you’re against the UK national grid charging Scotland £40 Mpa for “Supplying” them our power, but at the same time you’re condemning the SG for having to close Longannet because they can’t afford to keep it open thanks to the UK charge of £40 Million?
        Furthermore you say “Scotland has had her share, pro rata, of the debt”, I agree, we have had, “Our share of the debt”. please read my post on HS2 and remind me of how fair this £4,771 million debt is John? and tell me how we benefit again?

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrong again Robin. I too would like to know what business you can buy for £20 grand and five years later you have taken £150 grand +/- profit. Are there many of them out there? Cause I’ll take two.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Oh Dear!…Ali, the point I made has just been, “Spectacularly” missed by you?

        Tell you what, If in doubt, with nothing to add and nothing to defend your argument, why don’t you just resort back to you brand new shiny mantra?:

        “Wrong again Robin”?

        If you keep typing it often enough, who knows, there could be readers gullible enough to believe it?

  6. Johan Adamson

    Not only do we need to buy a cabin, we HIV TAE noo da bits o wid have been installed on all the seating you could once before lie on (presumably with your toddlers).

    The only folk that end up paying these high fares are families since the old and the young get some fares paid plus any clubs get sponsored and any NHS patients are also paid to go. Give us the RET

    Reply
  7. iantinkler

    “Don’t ya just love the way that the Lib/Dems are only NOW saying “hey where’s oor share”?”…Ha, Ha Ha, now that is rare coming from a SNP sycophant, is it not Robin, . Its our oil, give us, give us, give us!!!

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Ian, which part of “Oil revenue goes directly to London” are you struggling to grasp? Oil revenue is “Per Capita” in the UK, [Per Capita = Per person] Scotland – as a whole – get’s back 8.7% oil revenue because we are 8.7% of the entire UKs population. Therefore the ONLY people that are saying “it’s our oil,give us, give us, give us”, are the very people that you chose to be a part of?….So suck it up or vote for change.

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        Wrong again robin. The Barnet formula gives Scotland a higher per capita spend than anywhere else in the UK.

      • Robin Stevenson

        The Barnett Formula however takes no account of the much higher tax revenues per head generated in Scotland (about £1700 per year higher than the UK average). The net result is that Scotland, which generates 9.9% of UK taxes and only receives 9.3% of UK spending, subsidises the UK and has done so over the last 30 years.For major infrastructure projects like HS2 the formula assumes that the benefits come equally to Scotland (which is clearly not the case) and we should therefore be allocated a share of the costs. The result is that the money is spent in the South and no corresponding additions are made to the Barnett Formula to compensate Scotland”

        So when the UK Government spends £48bn on a train line from London to Manchester and Leeds, Scotland has to contribute approximately £4,771 million pounds for high speed trains that not only come nowhere near Scotland, but deliver absolutely zero economic benefit to the Scottish economy at all. In essence, the HS2 project sums up the hidden price that the Scottish people pay for remaining part of a broken political system called Westminster and a political-economic model across the UK which requires substantial reform.

        Just IF you’re interested Ali, Google how much London and the South East receive in comparison with the rest of the UK?…Unless you STILL want to insist Scotland gets the most per capita?

      • Ali Inkster

        Scotland receives more than it pays out, FACT. The south east of England generates more for the UK economy than Scotland, FACT. Shetland pays more per head than anywhere else in the UK, FACT. Are you being paid to troll these pages?

      • Robin Stevenson

        Well, I’ve just given you the figures Ali, and you’ve provided?…well…nothing actually?…Now there’s a FACT.

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrong again Robin.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Unlike yourself Ian, I like to back up my claims with “Real Facts”, not pretendy ones like yours, I await your apology for getting it wrong [yet again]

        http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/6881

      • Ali Inkster

        Wrong again Robin, when you take Shetland out the equation then Scotland is seriously underpaying its way. remove our oil revenues and income from fishing and scotland is down there with Wales and Northern Ireland.

      • Gordon Harmer

        Wikileaks????

      • Robin Stevenson

        It’s the independent IFS report, what’s that got to do with “Wikileaks” Gordon?…I’m quite sure IF you’re struggling with the content perhaps Ali could expla….No…wait,…jeez, he doesn’t understand it either?
        Never mind. SNP = BaaaD.

  8. iantinkler

    Says it all, up1% since the referendum.•
    “Thursday 2 April 2015: In a finding which illustrated the ongoing impact of the referendum, 56 per cent of voters said they were voting against the SNP “to keep Scotland part of the UK”.
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/wider-political-news/exclusive-poll-tory-attacks-on-snp-wielding-power-are-hitting-home.122124990. SNP no way.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Erm…You are aware Ian, that this is a UK wide poll NOT a Scottish poll?

      When you enter the proper Scotland wide SNP lead into the Scotland Votes calculator the SNP is forecast to win 46 seats in contrast with Labour’s 12, completely different from the article.

      Magnus’s article is deliberately misleading, [just before you get too excited]

      Reply
      • Robert Duncan

        You really should be more careful in your reading, Robin, the article states the figures quoted are from a different ITV/ComRes poll, not the TNS poll mentioned in the headline.

        It’s not a shock though, the SNP’s vote share has almost always been below 45% in recent polling. Given the “Yes vote” included many Greens, Scottish Socialists and others unaffiliated with the SNP, that is again unsurprising.

    • Robert Sim

      Quotations need the full context, Ian. From my reading of the article, the poll from which you quote was restricted to the 40 Scottish seats currently held by Labour. (It also mentions that the the SNP was six points ahead of Labour in those seats.) You therefore cannot generalise from that sample to the views of the Scottish electorate on independence. As it happens, all the polls taken on that subject Scotland-wide since September have shown a majority in support of independence.

      Coming back to the UK election, you will be aware that all the polls on this subject in Scotland continue to show that the SNP is likely to be the third-biggest party at Westminster in terms of seats.

      Reply
  9. iantinkler

    Erm? , Robin Stevenson, try reading the full article, if you are able, I am quoting the “separate ComRes/ITV News poll” taken across 40 Scottish seats! I realise you hate the truth when it is contradictory to your divisive mentality and would be loath to believe you are being deliberately misleading! .For some reason your Nationalist SNP sect like mentality divisively splits the Scots from the English at the border and Hadrian’s Wall. Robert, have you never realised that border is no more than a product of geography and a of accident history. The people on both sides are exactly the same, we have been crossing that wall and interbreeding for millennia, Scotland tribe is no different from tribe Mercia, Tribe Wessex and tribe Welsh kingdoms tribe, only blinkered and narrow “Nationalists” do not see that, blinded to logic and prejudiced to reason, just like a cult or religious sect!

    Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Ian, I am tempted to say that the last part of your final sentence appears to sum up your own attitude to those who support independence.

      In any case, I think you have an unrealistic view of national identity within the UK. There is nothing wrong with identifying with a nation; and there is no doubt that folk who live in England and Wales, for example, do so.

      Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      For goodness sake Ian, Wind yer neck in man?

      Hate, divisive, loath, sect, blinkered, narrow, prejudiced, cult.

      All in the one paragraph? I’m beginning to get the impression that you don’t favour the SNP then?

      I know you’re struggling to come to terms with the fact that the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon are super popular with, not only Scots, but now with the English electorate too, but “Name calling” is doing you NO favours Ian, it simply makes you out to be some kind of bitter, rambling, bad loser.
      IF it makes you feel any better “You won” 55% to 45%…happy?…[just don’t read any more polls before you blow yer top?….. again]…

      Reply
  10. iantinkler

    Robert Sim. Unlike poor Robin Stevenson (erm? erm?), you at least have read and understood the full context. Do you not realize counting eggs prematurely is exactly what the SNP did a few months ago. They were wrong and confounded then by 10%, just think about that. Please give a reference for, ” As it happens, all the polls taken on that subject Scotland-wide since September have shown a majority in support of independence.” I have yet to see a one?

    Reply
  11. Iantinkler

    Hardly definitive Robert, out of date and well within the error of the Referendum polls (you Gov were way out then). As I said a bit early to count ones eggs but interesting times ahead.

    Reply
  12. Ian tinkler

    I seem to have hit a raw nerve here, as it takes, erm? erm?, Robin Stevenson, forever to grasp a fact, I repeat my post; “For some reason your Nationalist SNP sect like mentality divisively splits the Scots from the English at the border and Hadrian’s Wall. Robin, have you never realized that border is no more than a product of geography and a of accident history. The people on both sides are exactly the same, we have been crossing that wall and interbreeding for millennia, Scotland tribe is no different from tribe Mercia, Tribe Wessex and tribe Welsh kingdoms tribe, only blinkered and narrow “Nationalists” do not see that, blinded to logic and prejudiced to reason, just like a cult or religious sect!” Now Robin Stevenson, what makes nation Scotland so awesome (an SNP supporters quote, not mine) they have an absolute right to break a union of so many frindly tribes?

    Reply
  13. Ian tinkle

    frindly tribes? friendly as Nicy Sturgeon would say. incidentally Robin, my mum was born in Glasgow, she hated prejudicial nationalist sentiment, just like me. I am very proud of her and feel no shame for my views or hers, I am very ashamed of the views of some of my compatriots. bigotry, blind bigotry, plenty of that in Scotland today.!

    Reply
  14. John Tulloch

    How about the SNP Scottish government publishing the RET calculation formula so we can see how they make out Shetland ferry travellers would be worse off with RET than at present?

    A return drive of 360 miles (2 x 180 miles) for a family of four costs less than £100, so how come RET would be dearer than the existing, very expensive ferry price.

    Come on, then, let’s see this wonderful formula.

    Reply
    • Robert Smith

      Do we need to see the new formula?
      We have the figures calculated using the original formula showing it would bring big savings to travellers in Orkney and Shetland.
      We also have the admission – in writing – that the formula was changed in order to discriminate against the Northern Isles.
      Haven’t we simply caught the SNP dishing out subsidies to SNP constituencies and cheating non SNP constituencies.
      Damned reprehensible behaviour by our supposedly ruling party.

      Reply
  15. Stephen Johnston

    The reason that the RET scheme under discussion results in higher fares for the Northern Isles than elsewhere is that it is not really a “road equivalent tariff” scheme in the sense that most prospective passengers would understand it.

    To quote from a Transport Scotland article – http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/water/ferries/road-equivalent-tariff – “The RET formula for calculating fares is a combination of a fixed element (to ensure services remain sustainable and to cover fixed costs such as maintaining harbour infrastructure and vessels) and a rate per mile (calculated by Transport Scotland analysts using contemporary independent research by the RAC).

    An updated RET formula will be calculated annually in line with the cost of travel, and applied at the beginning of each summer timetable period.”

    When the RET pilot scheme was introduced in 2008 it was based on fixed costs per single journey of £5 for a car and £2 per passenger with rates per mile of 60p for a car and 10p for each passenger. The cost of a single journey for a car and one passenger on the Shetland to Aberdeen route would have been approximately £157. Presumably the formula has been recalculated annually and would result in a higher figure now however the reviews do not appear to be published in any readily accessible format.

    The cost of 60p per mile is broadly similar to calculations recently carried out by AA and RAC for an “average” car, including all the costs of owning and running a car – even RAC/AA membership! The running costs only (fuel, tyres, servicing, etc.) are however around 22p per mile.

    Given that most people using the ferry would probably be doing this only once or twice a year, the marginal cost of using their car for those journeys would be more like the 22p per mile – a “road equivalent cost” for a single journey to Aberdeen of around £47.

    It would still be interesting to see the most recent review of the RET formula.

    Reply
  16. Johan Adamson

    Over £600 for a trip for 4 in July with a car, cabin and a dog. I underestimated the cost. We probably could have flown and hired a car for that. It used to be that the ferry was the cheaper option. Not any more. Hows that for a subsidised life line service?

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Hit’s waar still fur da towrist ‘at’s seekin’ ta win’ ta Shetlan’, Johan, fur dir nae ‘islander discoont fur dem!

      An yet du cud drive da sam lent fur a hunder pound!

      Reply
  17. John Tulloch

    Here’s what Argyll Labour candidate Mary Galbraith is saying about the Scottish ferry agencies – no local faces among the ‘heid eens’, privatisation of services, etc..

    http://forargyll.com/2015/04/mary-galbraith-accountability-and-reform-essential-for-ferry-services/

    Reply

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