Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has described the latest concession by the Scottish Government on commercial vehicle ferry rates as perhaps the best compromise in the circumstances.
Commenting Mr MacNeil:
“While we were disappointed to lose full RET on commercial vehicles we still have to remember that RET still exists for cars, passenger and other classes of vehicles. The RET spend will continue to be over £5 million from the original £6.5 million which is still a significant boost to the islands economy.
“Firstly the government moved to give a 25% discount, then it further moved to increase at 50% or a max of around £100 from the lower RET price. Given the backdrop of cuts from Westminster governments, currently Tory and Liberal and previously Labour, to the Scottish budget, this compromise was a difficult thing to achieve.
“I personally have spent a lot of time arguing with government on behalf of the islands, for improvements in the original deals. There has been much negotiation and discussion at many levels, to hammer out this compromise and as a result no one party’s entire view has come into being, but that is the entire nature of compromise.
“However, it is certainly a better position than we were first offered or indeed secondly offered. I hope that the review that will monitor the impact of this will be help to us arguing the case in the future.
“We should all bear in mind the £5 million plus of RET that we still have and the benefit that it is giving to our island communities. We must also remember that governments previous to the SNP were against all forms of RET, such as for cars and passengers, foolishly describing RET as the “economics of the madhouse.” If they were still in power, haulage rates would be far higher than they are now and hard working families going on holiday with their car would be paying a small fortune to cross the Minch.”