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SIC - Free Tyre Check - 22 Nov 2019

MSP to press new islands minister on ferry fares pledge

CUTTING ferry fares will be top of the agenda when Shetland MSP Tavish Scott meets Scotland’s new transport and islands minister Humza Yousaf at Holyrood on Wednesday.

Scott has been campaigning to have the cost of ferry travel brought down ever since fares on Scotland’s west coast routes were cut by around 50 per cent.

He said he would be reminding Yousaf of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s pledge when she visited Shetland during the Holyrood election campaign to take action in the Northern Isles too.

In a statement following his appointment – replacing Derek Mackay – as islands minister, Yousaf said the SNP was “committed to… taking action to reduce fares on ferry services to Orkney and Shetland”.

“Ferry fare reductions are my number one priority,” Scott said. “People the length and breadth of Shetland expect fair fares from their government.

“Cutting fares by 50 per cent on the west coast is excellent news for those island economies. All I and [Orkney MSP] Liam McArthur expect is equal treatment for the Northern Isles.

“I look forward to a constructive meeting with Humza Yousaf today and I plan to invite him to Shetland so that he can meet local people, businesses and organisations across the islands.

“We all expect action now on fares and I am sure he will want to meet the commitment the First Minister made in the election campaign when she visited Shetland.”

An online petition launched by Scott a few months ago has attracted 2,262 signatures to date, while local businessman Ryan Thomson’s separate petition on the same issue has attracted 2,592 supporters.

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