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SIC - Free Tyre Check - 22 Nov 2019

Election letters 2019 / Ferry agreement has not been acted on

Given its importance to Shetland, it’s little wonder that transport is high on the agenda in the run up to 29 August.

However there’s a level of misunderstanding about the reality of our current situation, particularly regarding ‘fair funding’ for our internal ferries and the relationship to future funding of fixed links.

The reality is that after a great deal of work agreement was reached between the SIC, Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government as far back as 2014 that, along with Orkney, the cost of our internal transport links should be fully funded.

The evidence supporting the case was robust and accurate, and based on a fair and equitable resolution of the long-standing anomaly of the islands councils effectively having to pay for a proportion of ferry costs out of their own pockets.

Since then the agreement has not been acted on although there have been ample opportunities. For it to be used as a political football now in this by-election is simply wrong.

Bear in mind that there’s a longer term goal as well. Once the government takes its rightful responsibility for funding ferries, the responsibility for funding fixed links also then sits where it always should have been, along with the recognition that they should be seen as national infrastructure projects.

I’m asking for the chance to help bring resolution to the ferry funding – but also to ensure that our future transport solutions are given proper consideration.

Michael Stout
Quendale
Independent candidate for the Shetland by-election