This week’s crop of your letters to The Buteman includes questions over road equivalent tariff (RET), a thank you to a local bus operator which raised money for the island’s children over the Christmas period, and a response from Argyll and Bute’s MP over ‘bedroom tax’ accusations.
Season ticket holders need RET answers
The introduction of road equivalent tariff (RET) pricing on Bute’s ferries in October of this year will undoubtedly make it easier to promote our island as a visitor destination.
It will also make it less expensive for islanders to undertake shopping trips, hospital visits and other trips to the mainland.
However, in the words of the old adage: “be careful of what you wish for.” As far as I am aware, Transport Scotland has yet to confirm that season tickets will remain following the introduction of RET. Along with Cumbrae, Bute differs from other islands in the Caledonian MacBrayne network because it has a substantial number of workers travelling to and from the island every day.
While RET fares have yet to be confirmed, it is likely that an RET single will equate to the same price as a single ticket from a multi journey ‘book’. For someone working the average 240 days a year, this works out an annual cost of approximately £1,400, whereas a current annual season - allowing unlimited travel for 363 days - costs £880.
Thus, if season tickets are not retained, commuters face a near-doubling of their travel costs - plus the inconvenience of having to purchase tickets every day.
It is also unclear if through ferry and rail tickets from Rothesay to Glasgow are to be retained. At present islanders benefit from being allowed to purchase these at off-peak rates, but are allowed use them at peak times as well as off peak. It also means passengers do not have to queue at Wemyss Bay to purchase tickets on their outward and return journeys.
Time for Transport Scotland to provide answers.
5 Eaglesham Terrace, Rothesay
MP hits back at bedroom tax criticism
I refer to the letter from the SNP’s Mr Moodie in last week’s issue.
Let me make it absolutely clear – I voted against the bedroom tax when it was introduced, and voted in favour of the two Bills introduced since then to try to abolish it. On none of these three occasions did more than half the SNP MPs bother to turn up and vote.
The message is clear. If you elect an SNP MP, don’t expect him or her to turn up and vote on important Bills.
Mr Moodie tried to make out that I support the bedroom tax by quoting only part of a sentence I had written and so completely changed its meaning. That is a pathetic way to campaign.
I successfully campaigned for extra money for rural councils like Argyll and Bute to pay the bedroom tax on behalf of tenants.
I also campaigned successfully to get the bedroom tax devolved to the Scottish Parliament. If anyone in Scotland is still paying the bedroom tax, then the SNP are to blame, because they have the power to abolish it in Scotland.
The big issue in the coming election is the SNP’s crackpot idea to change the way the Scottish Parliament is funded by replacing the Barnett formula with disappearing oil revenues. That would mean Scottish taxpayers paying 14 pence more in the pound in income tax.
With policies like that, only the very rich can afford to vote SNP.
Alan Reid MP (Liberal Democrat, Argyll and Bute)
95 Alexandra Parade, Dunoon
Christmas donation to toddler group
On behalf King Street Toddler group, I would like to thank West Coast Motors for their very generous contribution of £185.
We would also like to thank everyone who contributed to the collection they ran over the festive period.
The generous support of individuals like you makes it possible for our group to exist and to make the community a great place to live. Thank you again for your support!
8B Dewar Avenue, Rothesay
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