Orkney Islands Council will not be agreeing the budget for the year ahead – the full council meeting which would have decided that has been cancelled.
The Policy and Resources Committee had made their recommendations on setting the budget which can be viewed here Orkney’s Budget.
The Scottish Budget which was passed in Holyrood saw an extra £1million being allocated to Orkney.
OIC is seeking clarification from the Scottish Government over funding for the islands internal ferry fleet.
James Stockan. Leader of OIC said:
“A crucial component of our budget for 2019-2020 is the funding we receive from the Scottish Government to operate our inter-island ferry service.
“We expect the service to be fully funded by the Government – a precedent set 12 months ago when full funding was awarded for the first time after years of campaigning by the Council.”
[Last year’s Scottish Budget Ferry Fares & Funding for Schools: the Scottish Budget]
“We have made numerous representations to Ministers at the highest level asking that the Government respects the will of Parliament and provides full and fair funding for the year ahead.
“I am disappointed to say that despite this, we are still awaiting a decision from the Government on this vitally important matter. This is a major hurdle when it comes to setting our budget. It leaves us with no option other than to take the exceptional step of cancelling this week’s Full Council meeting.
“Once again I would ask Minsters to do the right thing and respond favorably to our call for full and equitable funding for Orkney’s lifeline internal ferry service over the year ahead.”
The Scottish Budget allocated £10.5 million for inter-island ferry services in 2019-2020 for Orkney and Shetland but has not announced a specific amount for Orkney. Operating the Orkney Ferries fleet during that 12-month period will cost £6.8 million.
The Scottish Budget was agreed after negotiations between the SNP and the Scottish Greens who were the only group in the Scottish Parliament to negotiate with Derek MacKay, Finance Minister.