Northern Isles MSPs demand ferry fare reduction

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and his Orkney colleague Liam McArthur have called on Scottish ministers to use a £12 million increase in the ferry budget to help reduce fares on routes serving the Northern Isles.

The increase in spending on support for ferry services to £165 million was outlined in the Scottish government’s draft budget.

The Northern Isles MSPs have repeatedly pressed for a reduction to help support local people and businesses.

Mr Scott said: “This money must be spent on reducing fares for passengers in Orkney and Shetland. For too long they have missed out while fares on the west coast routes have been cut in half.

“This government has already promised a substantial reduction in fares but we are yet to see it materialise. The budget is now available. There can be no further delay in cutting fares.”


Add Your Comment
  • David Spence

    • December 17th, 2016 14:40

    The bottom line to this, regardless of what the Scottish Government does, lies in the ‘ private company of Serco ‘.

    This extra money going into, allegedly, reducing fares for the people of Shetland and Orkney (as well as for tourists visiting?) how much of this money is actually going into the pockets of Serco?

    Is this a case of the Scottish Government paying, in advance, the monies Serco may lose as a consequence of being forced to reduce fares? In other words, Serco being compensated by the Tax Payer for the so-called lost revenue which has not yet been acted upon? I think it is?

    In all this fiasco of promising this and that, at the end of the day (excuse the punn) the buck stops at the decision Serco (100% supported by the Conservative Government) makes and not the Scottish Government.

    This is the impression I get……………albeit may be wrong.

    • Christopher Johnston

      • December 17th, 2016 16:11

      I suggest you must also include CalMac Ferries in the matter as they are owned by the Scottish Government.
      Serco itself seems poorly managed as they continue to lose money despite a turnover of over 3 billion in 2015.

      • David Spence

        • December 18th, 2016 16:35

        What I am curious about Christopher, the money allocated by the Scottish Government in reducing the fares for Shetlanders and Orcadians, how much this money is actual compensation to Serco for, allegedly, lost revenue as a result of reducing or being forced to reduce the fares they are charging people?

        In fact, why should it cost the Scottish Government any thing in telling a contractor to reduce their charges in order to improve the connection between the islands and mainland Scotland? Nobody seems to be questioning the role Serco are playing in this, and their agenda of maximizing their profits at the cost to people on Shetland and Orkney.

        One should also bare in mind, the close relationship between Serco and the Conservative Government, and how, it appears, this one company seems to be getting a tremendous amount of Government contracts in area’s of work where it has little or no experience in? The present contract of life-line services to the islands being a prime example of this.

        I believe most of the contract work Serco receives from the Conservative Government is through the MOD?

  • Fiona Grahame

    • December 27th, 2016 22:57

    to quote the late Danus Skene: ‘This is because of a thoroughly bad deal signed by the Lib-Lab coalition Scottish government signed in 2005 whereby the three ferries that entered the service in 2002 are leased from RBS as part of what is best understood as a PFI deal.By the end of this contract in 2020, £200 million will have been spent on renting hugely inefficient boats costing £100 million. Much of the rest of the subsidy bill goes up the funnel. The money could have got something better but we are stuck with the deal.The NorthLink subsidy costs over £40 million a year, or £300 per passenger trip on the Aberdeen runs.Reducing fares on these trips before or after applying RET is a horrendous burden on the taxpayer, much greater than for the West Coast ferries, and all a consequence of Lib Dem ministers’ decisions.’ and this deal was signed off by Tavish Scott MSP


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