Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart today challenged Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse to deliver fair funding for Shetland’s ferry service to meet the needs of island communities. Ms Wishart was responding to a statement on the publication of the draft National Islands Plan which sets out the Government’s objectives for Scotland’s islands for the next five years.
Ms Wishart asked the Minister to commit to full and fair ferry funding in the upcoming budget for Shetland in light of the costs of running the service and the acknowledgement in the Plan that transport is crucial in allowing islanders to “enjoy fundamental human rights”.
The Minister replied that the government will work constructively with Shetland and Orkney Islands council on funding issues.
Commenting Ms Wishart said,
“This Plan is not the first time that islanders have been promised that government is listening and that it recognises the transport challenges we face.
“The Government now needs to step up and ensure that the work done by Shetland Islands Council and others for full and fair ferry funding doesn’t end in frustration yet again.
“The aspirations behind the historic Islands Act must translate into real change.”