Cross party support is needed if the council is to secure the extra funding required for Orkney’s ferry service. This was the view from talks with the Scottish Government which leader Councillor James Stockan has described as constructive. He has warned that the Council needs to strike quickly to secure additional funding.
Councillor Stockan met with Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, in Edinburgh late on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking immediately after the meeting, James Stockan said:
“The Scottish Government Budget is yet to be set. The Finance Secretary has said that he hasn’t ruled out providing us with extra funding, but that support will be needed from other political parties at Holyrood to secure it.”
“The Council argues that having to provide additional funding year after year – almost £3 million during the last year alone, and projected over £5 million for next year – is unfair and inequitable. To date, this has cost the Council £44 million – imagine the positive impact this would have had if it had been spent on other services for our community.”
“I strongly believe that our local elected representatives cannot fail to support our case when the budget is presented by the Scottish Government.”
James Stockan has warned of the risk to cuts in services and has urged that quick progress be made ” to ensure that we can remove this huge financial burden for the Council and provide lifeline ferry services to our isles residents.