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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fair Fares

A news release hits my inbox:
Proposed changes to Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) for commercial vehicles
The Outer Hebrides Transport Group (OHTG) has recently been formed with the aim of working together to fight the Governments decision to remove RET for commercial vehicles from island ferries.
The OHFG would like to hear your views on how it will affect your business, your customers and the economy of the Outer Hebrides.
Please contact Gail Robertson, Co-ordinator of Outer Hebrides Transport Group

Tel: 01870 602916
Mobile: 07919 622377
The horrendous impact of these price increases of up to 175% will make the small savings on the pseudo-RET scheme look like small chage.

The 'extension' and the 'permanance' of RET has been announced in glorious technicolour by the Government, the MSP and the MP on a number of occasions,   Without a concrete promise of implementation, far less an implementation date.

The penalising of everyone who relies on the freight traffic has been introduced immediately.
David Wood, owner of Lewis haulage firm, Woody’s Express said: “This proposal from the SNP Government is economically illiterate and will have a devastating impact on the islands. The Scottish Government sneaked out this massive price hike without the courtesy of consulting any of those who will be affected.  
This will have the impact of making all the incoming food deliveries, all the fish and shellfish exports, tweed exports and every other product coming from the islands much more expensive.  Indeed, the much vaunted designation of Arnish as a centre for renewables will be undermined by this very policy.

Our MP briefly spoke out against the policy (after being severely bollocked in Barra by businessmen), before being gagged by his own party, whilst our MSP seemingly has no view on the matter.  None of the would be SNP Council candidates has had anything to say on the matter - with one notable isolated exception - despite their planned campaign slogan of "Fighting for the Islands".  The slogan is now being changed to "Tutting quietly, as instructed, in the islands."

One major area of concern is the inter-island commercial traffic, which is likely to be decimated by this increase.  One businessman has told me that he will now turn back to the mainland, rather than locally, as it is going to be more efficient overall.  10-20 years of hard work developing the inter-island business destroyed by a Government who say one thing and do another behind your back..

Now the Council and sitting Councillors need to get behind this campaign, which has the potential for inflicting serious economic damage to the islands.

Remind me again how this SNP integrated transport strategy works?


Richard T said...

Presumably directed by the same Transport Minister who persuaded Shetland Council to contribute to chartering a Calmac boat for the winter refit timetable across the Pentland Firth without involving Orkney Council. The boat in question was used before and struggled to make the crossings in winter weather. Orkney gives both a serious row and the original plan came into operation. Not the first time the SNP Government has played games in the north.

Still we might be getting RET some time although from what you post it won't help our freight traffic any.

Anonymous said...

Dinae fash assured that Minister Keith Brown and the SNP Scottish Govt will come up with the readies. Too much at stake here, in our economically straightened times. Shops in these islands are already pricing goods on average 10 - 15% above mainland shops and outlets. Another hike as a result of no progress on RET for commercial vehicles is unthinkable. We'll have an early resolution to this important local difficulty, of this I am certain. This is why we have an SNP MSP and SNP MP, to fight our corner.

Anonymous said...

Angus – rush round to the SNP office in Bayhead - their PR machine has broken down. This is an emergency. Not a cheep from them until a lobby group had to be formed and get stuck into them. As you say this is an issue that wil penalise every single family in the islands – this is not a haulage issue – this is an issue for every home. PS where are the smiling candidates that were going to be “fighting” for the islands. Let’s hear from you or have you not received your instructions from the Good Doctor Allan?

Anonymous said...

Think Richard T may be right ...

The RET scheme - as it stands - is a political embarassment to the SNP in the North, stopping people from voting the party.

The population of Orkney are also beginning to make noises about the unfairness of it. However, to extend it to Orkney particularly in summer would be extremely expensive. I suspect that the changes suggested for haulage drivers are intended to make the scheme more affordable for all the relevant isles of Scotland. They may even think that the size of Dr Allan's majority is such it's worth taking a few risks for it.

So I do think you should 'fash yourself'. This may be kite-flying but there's a serious storm on the way.

Poly E Ticks said...

A few missing facts/questions.

If the removal of RET will see prices rise to up to 175% how come they did not go down 175% when RET came in?

It is a fact that hauliers put up their charges before RET so as to retain the status quo when RET saw them reduce their charges. Equally just how many of them did actually reduce their charges?

You can be damn sure that before the local election the SNP Government will introduce a wonderful new concession on RET so fear not.

Argos has already jumped on the wagon for additional delivery charges even before the removal of RET or not.

Anonymous said...

Cough cough ermmmm- Argos aint half shot themseleves in the foot with the Haulier charging £49 to deliver a chair..............did we see any reduction in haulage charges when RET was introduced- NO- it all went into the poor hauliers ar$e pockets......

Kenny Flip knows all about it said...

If Orca thinks that Absent Allan is working hard, just imagine if we had an MSP or MP who....

- Read their own party press releases when they were sent to them well in advance of the public announcement
- Had the respect of the relevant Minister who would discuss possible adverse consequences of a policy change in advance
- Lobbied for changes to the policy before they were announced
- Actually took a stance rather than just passing on views. Doing the later singals contempt and absence of support for the constituents.

- We have discussion by press release
- Reaction to adverse decisions, eventually
- Luke warm support for the islands
- The community on the back foot due to their incompetence

If only a fraction of the time, effort and public money that is being spent on the indepndecne debate went into the funding of the ferries.....

Orca should start by asking Allan when he was told about the changes to the haulage charges. I'm told that it was in the late Autumn, and he did nothing to try and change the decision until last week.

Another chocolate fireguard representing the islands.

Anonymous said...

What a disgrace – the Nat’s rabbiting on about independence when they can’t even look after their own backyard. Rather than break up Britain – why don’t they try and keep the islands afloat. Well done Woody and others for sticking up for families and not just putting your own business interests ahead of the rest of the community.

Anonymous said...

Our MSP on the island has no opinion on any matter whatsoever which has not been sanctioned, officialy, by Mr Alex.