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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lorry fares and RET

To establish the Government's real thinking on this matter, it is instructive to read a motion in Scottish Parliament (rather than just reprinting bland self-serving Press Releases from our MSP).

First the Labour motion:
S4M-01750 David Stewart: Road Equivalent Tariff for Commercial Vehicles—That the Parliament notes with concern the Scottish Government’s current proposals to remove road equivalent tariff from commercial vehicles using ferries that serve the communities of the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree; notes that in some cases the fare increase for small haulage companies from Tiree would more than double the fare and in the Western Isles may be up to 175% of the current fare; considers that in the current economic climate these fare increases are both extremely damaging to the local economy and completely unjustifiable; calls on the Scottish Government to urgently withdraw these plans, and believes that, if the Scottish Government chooses not to do so, this would seriously question its commitment to Scotland’s most fragile island communities.
And now the Government amendment, which - in the spirit of representative democracy - SNP MSPs have to have approved by the Whips (my emphasis).
*S4M-01750.1 John Finnie: Road Equivalent Tariff for Commercial Vehicles—As an amendment to motion S4M-01750 in the name of David Stewart (Road Equivalent Tariff for Commercial Vehicles), leave out from "with concern" to end and insert “the ongoing representations by the haulage industry in the Western Isles to the Scottish Government to ensure the fairest possible system of fares for commercial vehicles on ferries in the islands on a basis that recognises the economic fragility of this part of Scotland; believes that, if a system of discounts is to replace the present road equivalent tariff (RET) fares for larger commercial vehicles, it must be on a fair basis that benefits small as well as larger companies and must operate more equitably than previous discount schemes for commercial vehicles; welcomes the indication in the ferries review that the Scottish Government will look at extending the definition of a small commercial vehicle on Hebridean and Clyde ferries from a maximum of five to six metres; understands that RET fares will continue for all passengers, cars and small commercial vehicles on routes between the mainland and the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree and that the Scottish Government will extend the scheme in the course of the current parliamentary session to cover other islands, starting with Colonsay, Gigha and Islay in 2012, as well as inter-island routes such as those on the Sound of Barra and Sound of Harris, and welcomes what it considers the contrast between these policies and the situation during eight years of a Labour-Liberal Democrat administration, when not one of the longstanding demands for RET in the islands was met."
So, despite the vigorous spin to the contrary, and as anyone who has read the policy sham consultation there is no guarantee of any discounts; that the vehicle lengths might be reviewied at some point; and that RET may continue for all passengers.

On the upside, there is a call to give discounts to all commercials - but that's a bit giving the option of having a kicking from the left foot or the right foot, after you've been clubbed to the ground.

Remember that CalMac are ultimately owned and controlled by by the SNP Government, who seem content to let this change be implemented.

Cpt Pugnatious (A Salmond) announces that RET cuts are all the fault of Westminster, 
watched by the adoring Roger the Cabin Boy (A Allan) 
whilst the evil Blackbeard (Cllr MacSween) tries to spoil their fun.


Anonymous said...

The Head of the SNP Politburo clearly has snapped his fingers: three consecutive letters to Hebrides News today, each from prospective SNP candidates in the forthcoming local elections, none declaring that fact.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised Big Iain Don has not come out in support of Eck or the Ablach Allan.

Or is he smart enough to see that thes idiots policies are going to affect every single person in the Islands.

Anonymous said...

Like the caption - but who are Master Bates and Seaman Stains?

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous
The fact that SNP candidates put their name and address at the bottom of their letters clearly identifies them ...this confirms the calibre and standard being set by the SNP: openness, transparency and accountability for views being expressed. Join the party! The future is bright - and looking brighter by the day, according to recent polls.

Anonymous said...

Getting sick of all the politics that is flowing with this subject. I don't travel to and from the mainland very often, neither does my car..RET, car and me...ok but i survived before it.
However, everything I do to survive relies on imports and exports through commercial vehicles. I'm paid a lesser price for landings because of
transport...i pay more for food because of transport...every aspect of living and scraping a living relies on commercials in and out from the mainland in some form.....WHY THE F*-K CAN SOMEBODY NOT CONVEY THIS SIMPLE REALITY TO EDINBURGH-AND WHY ARE THEY GETTING AWAY WITH JUSTIFYING IT.....THEY WILL STRANGLE US, AND OUR LIVELYHOODS WITH THIS CHANGE.
Yes the RET on the Sound ferries is nice, but if our lifeline services or hit, does it really matter if it's slightly cheaper interisland....

Anonymous said...

Maybe the answer is scrap RET for cars and re-instate for Hauliers. Far too many cars back and fore anyway.Many of them away to mainland shops and depriving local ones?

Anonymous said...

@ 4:09 - if people are using the ferry to go to mainland shops, then why should this be? Cheaper prices may be one thing, but good customer service is likely to be another. If local shops are being deprived, then perhaps the local shopkeepers should ask themselves "what could I be doing to attract more customers through my door?".

The sooner that some local retailers realise that merely opening your doors and displaying your wares at inflated prices does not equate to customer service, the better. Some staff in local shops forget even basic manners and ignore potential customers at their peril. Where's the incentive to shop local if some of the local shopkeepers don't seem to understand a customer-focused ethos.

Yes, we live on an island, yes it costs to transport items up here, but don't try to pull the wool over our eyes and whack prices up to exorbitant levels, as that's just extracting the yellow stuff.