Legal Questions Delay RET for Orkney

Michael MathesonMichael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in the Scottish Government, has confirmed that there will be delays to the introduction of a RET (Road Equivalent Tariff) type scheme on the ferry route between Orkney and Mainland Scotland.

Michael Matheson stated that this was for legal reasons. Unlike the ferries to Shetland the ones to Orkney include 2 private operators. It was a failure to agree terms and conditions with one of the operators that has led to questioning the legality of the Government subsidy.

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur, Lib/Dem said:

“Why this has been allowed to happen is still not clear, though it appears the government failed to do the legwork to get operators on board or seek early advice from the relevant competition authorities.

“Either way, with the Government and operators deadlocked, it is people in Orkney and those seeking to access these lifeline services that are left counting the cost as they continue to pay over the odds.”

Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, in support of Michael Matheson’s position said:

Maree Todd on the ferry from Scrabster to Stromness

“I welcome the comments from the Cabinet Secretary clarifying for my constituents what is causing this delay and where we are up to in this process.

 “Of course we all want to see this happen as soon as possible but it would be inappropriate for any MSP to break rules on this matter or to breach any process that needs to be followed in order to achieve it.

 “The Scottish Government, the SNP and I remain fully committed to delivering RET to my constituents in Orkney and Shetland and we are working to achieve this as soon as possible.”

Shetland has had most of the RET style subsidised fares delivered because it does not have private operators between the islands and mainland Scotland. This also means that those travelling the Orkney to Shetland route have reduced fares.

Archived story:Delay to Cut in Orkney Ferry Fares Continues

Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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3 replies »

  1. Let me gently remind Liam McArthur and his fellow Fib/Dems had eight years to do something about RET and true Tavish Scot when he was Transport Minister did look at it but when all the problems were pointed out to him he quietly shelved the whole project. The whole matter was reported in the Shetland Times at the time along with some Tavish quotes. So, lets have no ‘faux’ outrage from the Fib/Dems and others for they seem to be far better at sitting on the ‘touch line’ hurling abuse and suggestions to the referee.

    Personally this smells awful like the protracted legal battle with the Scotch Whisky industry to delay the introduction of ‘minimum pricing’. Make-up your own minds!!!!

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