Responding to the publication of the Highlands and Islands business panel report today Shetland MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart voiced that the Scottish Government should listen to the needs of the Northern Isles. Ferries and Brexit were two key issues spotlighted in the report.
The Highlands and Islands business panel report shows the findings of the latest Highlands and Islands Enterprise business panel survey carried out in June 2021. Views on the impact of Brexit were more negative than positive: 44% felt it had had a negative impact on their business. 71% of Shetland businesses responding to the survey relied on ferries.
Northern Isles MSPs wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Transport about ferry freight limitations and Ms Wishart raised the matter again with the Islands Cabinet Secretary last week. Ms Wishart also spoke of the Brexit disruption that business had faced.
Ms Wishart said:
“This report expresses exactly what I have been trying to put across to the Scottish Government. The Isles have been impacted by Brexit and rely heavily on ferries for goods coming in and going out.
“Two Cabinet Secretaries have been asked to look at this. Ferry freight capacity issues are long running, completely foreseeable and avoidable.
“I hope the Cabinet Secretaries will act on this matter given this further evidence that clearly shows island businesses are impacted. The needs of the island communities and businesses cannot be ignored.”
Notes to Editors
You can find the HIE findings here.
You can find the details of the joint letter here.
You can find Ms Wishart’s exchange with the Cabinet Secretary here.