Wishart pushes for financial support for lifeline transport services

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today pushed the Scottish Government to deliver full funding for Shetland’s internal ferry services and bring forward “real plans” for fixed links.

During Transport questions this afternoon Ms Wishart noted that since 2018 the Scottish Government has failed to deliver on its commitment to fair funding for internal ferry services in the Northern Isles. In the last budget, Shetland Islands Council received only £5.2 million of the £9.49 million revenue funding needed to deliver ferry services. Ms Wishart pushed the government on when it will deliver the full funding needed for the lifeline services.

Ms Wishart also said that fixed links are the long-term connectivity solution for Shetland, noting recent tunnel developments in the Faroe Islands, and asked the Scottish Government to bring forward plans to develop similar infrastructure in Shetland.

Commenting, Ms Wishart said:

“Since 2018, the government has repeatedly failed to uphold its promise to communities in the Northern Isles when it comes to the full funding of lifeline internal ferry services. Despite what Ministers say, the funding that has been provided does not meet the real costs of running our ferries and SIC has had year on year cuts to central budget. The Government needs to step up and deliver on the clear evidence that it is presented with.

“An undersea tunnel with a roundabout is due to open in Faroe next week; it will reduce transport times dramatically. Another tunnel is currently under construction. That shows what can be delivered for island communities. This government needs to have the same ambitions for Shetland and invest in long-term sustainable infrastructure.”

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