Bute ‘must mount strong campaign’ over RET

ARGYLL and Bute MSP Michael Russell has pledged to back any “strong local campaign” to persuade the Scottish Government to accelerate the introduction of ferry fares based on road equivalent tariff (RET) on Bute.

Speaking at a public meeting organised by the island’s two SNP council candidates, Isobel Strong and Robert Macintyre, Mr Russell said he had had only two letters from Bute complaining at the proposal in the Scottish Ferries Review draft plan to bring RET to Bute only within the lifetime of the current Scottish Parliament – i.e. potentially as late as May 2016.

“The fairest thing to happen would be for it all to happen at the same time,” Mr Russell acknowledged.

“Regrettably there is such difficulty in terms of the public finances that we are having to do things a different way, but I’m very happy to work with anyone else to argue for a single introduction date.

“I think there is general agreement that the very latest RET should be introduced on Bute is in the autumn of 2014, when it comes in on Arran.

“There’s been no announcement that this wouldn’t happen, but there needs to be a strong campaign for it to be autumn 2014 at the latest.”

* More detail on this story in the new issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, April 26.