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The truths they don't want you to read....

Monday, September 03, 2007

RET - a red herring

I sincerely hope that Ministers do not listen to Dave Stewart MSP (Highlands & Islands, Lab) when he calls for an enquiry by the transport committee into the total impact of transport costs on the economy of the islands.

[If I hadn't added the descriptor, would you know who he was?]

Not that the points is makes are wrong, but the danger with an enquiry with such a wide remit is that it will take a very long time to gather evidence, and even longer to come to a conclusion. The economic impacts have to be assessed and the overall displacement impact quantified - it could take the rest of the parliamentary term to come to any kind of conclusion.

The remit is very similar to that to be set by the Executive Government for the test in the Western Isles, and I worry that the Government will pounce on any excuse to draw out the evaluation phase, and it could be even longer before RET is introduced.

He said that ferry transport had been the number one issue raised by local authorities, the health boards and island communities during his recent visits to Shetland, the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute.

This is news to him!! Having been elected in 1997 - he should have got out more and he would have heard this message loud and clear. Or was it perhaps that the Labour Party are late converts to RET?

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