18th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

No deal from goverment over inter island ferries

The Scottish government has come under heavy criticism for failing to offer fair funding for Shetland’s inter-island links.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay had “ignored the express will of Parliament” during his big budget speech at Holyrood, according to MSP Tavish Scott.

A heavy defeat was suffered by the SNP last week, when the administration was challenged to honour its long-standing ferry funding commitment.

But there were was no commitment to ferries when Mr Mackay set out his spending and tax plans, which will see Scots earning more than £33,000 hit by income tax rises next year.

The Liberal Democrats have now announced proposals to bring an amendment that will encourage the SNP administration to restate its support for ferry services.

Earlier in the day Orkney MSP Liam McArthur urged the First Minister to step in and ensure her government delivered on its promise of fair ferry funding.

In a joint statement following the budget, Messrs McArthur and Scott said: “The decision by this government to abandon the promises it made to the communities in Orkney and Shetland is reprehensible.

“Having committed to fair funding for internal ferry services in the Northern Isles back in 2014, the finance secretary has chosen to leave the communities who rely on these lifeline services high and dry.

“Mr Mackay and this SNP government have also shown contempt for the will of parliament.

“We will now need consider the detail of the government’s budget over the coming weeks. However, we are determined to bring forward an amendment ahead of the vote next month that will allow parliament to restate its support for fair funding for our internal ferry services. This is something we will be discussing with the other parties in the run up to that vote.

“In the meantime, Mr Mackay has done himself and his government no favours by abandoning his promises and ignoring parliament. This will not have gone unnoticed in the communities left facing the consequences of his decision.”

10 comments

  1. Bill Adams

    I find it interesting (but not surprising) that you choose to highlight that Scots earning more than £33,000 will be paying more in Income Tax but coyly omit to mention that of course those of us whose income is lower will be paying rather less than at present.

    Reply
    • Charles L. Gallagher

      Bill. What do expect, they’ve joined the rest of the media in only reading Tory and Fib/Dem Press Releases without proper investigative journalism. Didn’t the ‘great’ Tavish also fail to get funding agreed many years ago and wasn’t the problem over who controlled the inter-island ferries in Shetland and Orkney?

      Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      You also fail to mention that msp s and those on salaries like them will be paying less tax in sturgeons progressive taxation policy. seams to me they have found a way to skim the cream from the middle.

      Reply
      • Bill Adams

        That is mince Ali. If you do the sums again you will find that MSP’s whose salaries are due
        to rise to £62 grand will be paying more Income Tax next year.
        I’m delighted to see that Tavish Scott will have to contribute more to the public purse –
        he can well afford to do so.

      • Ali Inkster

        I think you will find they are paying less Charles. https://theferret.scot/scotlands-budget-fact-check-income-tax/

  2. John Ridland

    Vote SNP = fair funding? Wake up!

    Reply
  3. David Spence

    If Scotland gets its money for Local Authority Services from Westminster, surely, not that I am letting the SNP off the hook, one must question Westminster and the Tory Government?

    I understand that the Tory Government have done away with the Barnett Formula, thus putting the Tories in a powerful position of reducing monies to Scotland in order to put pressure on the SNP, in terms of the distribution of monies to Local Authorities, and Nicola Sturgeon?

    If the SNP is forced to make austerity cuts to Local Authorities, shouldn’t we question Westminster and the Tory Government, rather than putting all the blame on the SNP ?

    I believe the economic strangle hold the Tories have on Scotland will get considerably worse under Brex*hit, as monies to Scotland will be become less and less in an effort to force the SNP to out source Local Authority Works to the private sector. In other words, privatisation. This will happen.

    Reply
    • Michael Garriock

      So there’s absolutely no truth is there, in the rumour then, that Holyrood’s grant from Westminster this last year was increased over the previous year, but that the SNP Government in Holyrood chose to reduce local authority financing and spend that additional funds elsewhere.

      I disagree entirely with your belief that WE should be questioning Westminster concerning local authority financing. It has nothng to do with us, Holyrood is wholly responsible for local authority financing, they decide what its going to be, and they decide where the funds are going to come from to finance it.

      *If* as you suggest the root cause of local authority financing reductions is Westminster reducing the finance they provide to Holyrood for that purpose, that is a matter for MSP’s to fight out with MP’s, and not for us to fight out with MP’s. We put MSPs to Holyrood to take care of local authority financing, and we expect them to deliver it adequately and competently. How they do it, is their problem, not ours. We just expect it done, end of.

      Reply
      • Brian Smith

        This is a very good example of the old view that Westminster and the British Empire are Shetland’s best friends. There is a flaw in the argument, however. If Westminster bears no responsibility for local government expenditure in Scotland, then Holyrood bears none for it in Shetland. By the way, ‘end of’ is a phrase used frequently in the Daily Mail: avoid.

      • David Spence

        Bottom line, no matter how you look at it Michael, monies which Scotland gets from the UK Government comes from Westminster.

        If Scotland gets its billions from elsewhere for running the services of the Local Authority (Education, Housing, National Health Services, Defence and many more services under the Government) I would like to know where, in terms of monies from taxes, this is originating from.

        The Scottish Government gets the money from Westminster, but it is also the Westminster Government which can force the Scottish Government to do austerity cuts within the Local Authorities and also designates what monies should go where. The Scottish Government does not have a blank cheque to do as it pleases without being accountable to Westminster.

        and why do you disagree in the people of the country or Local Authorities or any other authority under the Government NOT allowed to question the Government? On what basis do you justify ‘ the Government not being accountable ‘ ? Are you a Tory Supporter?

        Scotland may get some money from the EU, but I would anticipate this will be none existing once the UK officially leaves the EU.

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