The use of ‘road equivalent tariff’ as a basis for ferry fares to Scotland’s islands has been labelled a “cynical bribe” by an opposition MSP.
Rhoda Grant, one of Labour’s regional list MSPs for the Highlands and Islands, hit out at comments made by Scotland’s transport minister that in an independent Scotland RET fares would not be extended to commercial vehicles.
Mrs Grant said Keith Brown’s comments at the Scottish Transport Conference demonstrated a lack of commitment to the SNP’s own policy on RET, after the party decided in 2012 not to continue using the fares model for commercial traffic on routes to the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree.
“It is becoming clearer and clearer that the SNP stance on RET has been used as a cynical bribe to our island communities,” Mrs Grant said.
“Keith Brown continues to ignore his own report highlighting the damage cutting RET for commercial vehicles has done and continues to undermine not only his own stance on RET, but the economic credibility of his government and his campaign for independence.”
RET fares remain a sore point for many ferry users on Bute after the SNP government committed only to introducing RET-based fares on the island’s routes within the lifetime of the current Scottish Parliament - meaning Bute’s ferry users could have to wait until 2016 to benefit from the lower fares which would result.