A new petition has been launched calling for the Scottish government to cut ferry fares to the Northern Isles – despite the SNP failing to win either the Orkney or Shetland seat.
Isles man Ryan Thomson says fares on Shetland’s lifeline services have increased by 31 per cent, while those in the Western Isles have been reduced by half.
Earlier this year, calls were made by the Liberal Democrats to reduce fares. Mr Thomson believes a similar petition without any connection to a political party would add special emphasis to the call.
The SNP pledged to cut ferry fares if they won the Shetland seat in the Scottish parliamentary elections. Lib Dem candidate Tavish Scott won the seat anyway. But Mr Thomson says fares should still be examined by the newly elected minority SNP government, regardless of who represents the isles at Holyrood.
“The Scottish government, in their manifesto for the Shetland Isles, promised to cut the ferry fares for our lifeline service if they won the Shetland seat in the Scottish Parliament Elections in May 2016,” he said.
“Despite them failing to win the seat, I call on them to continue with their promise.
“Shetland’s lifeline service has increased 31 per cent whilst the Western Isles has seen their ferry fares decrease 50 per cent.
“Shetland should not be paying more in lifeline ferry fares then anyone else in Scotland. – RYAN THOMSON
“Shetland should not be paying more in lifeline ferry fares than anyone else in Scotland We are a part of Scotland and all we ask is to be offered the same level of service as other island groups.
“This petition is designed to show the Scottish government that Shetlanders should have equal parity with the rest of Scotland and is not designed to be a protest campaign against any political party.
“I understand there is an alternative petition on this subject however I believe a petition without any connection to a political party would emphasise more the feeling of dissatisfaction within our communities at having unfairly seen our ferry fares increase whilst they are being cut in other parts of Scotland.
“Please sign this petition to increase the pressure on the Scottish government to reduce our lifeline ferry fares.”
The petition can be found on the Change.org website on www.change.org/p/scottish-government-a-fair-deal-for-shetlands-lifeline-ferry-service