Is this yet another cheap electoral stunt? Don't Labour realise that they are not
only maligning CalMac and its hardworking staff, but are also damaging these islands
by deterring tourists through the spreading of false rumours.
When Labour were last in power at Holyrood, they spent £29.90 million in 2007 on
subsidies to Calmac. In 2016, the SNP Government spent £128.80 million. It also built
a new ship and expanded the ports at Ullapool and Stornoway. During eight years in
power, Labour did practically nothing.
The number of visitors to the Western Isles is likely to hit 260,000 this year compared
with 171,000 in 2008, bringing tens of millions of pounds per year of extra revenue
to these islands.
This is largely due to the SNP's policy of Road Equivalent Tariff, which was introduced
in 2008 and slashed ferry fares by more than half overnight. This should be news
to Ms Macdonald, who has claimed that "RET fares have never been part of life and
travel in these islands" (Heb News 23rd January 2015).
If she wants to be taken seriously as a candidate at the forthcoming election, she
needs to start getting her facts right.
Dr David Wilson
12b Tolsta Chaolais Isle of Lewis
Letter: All at sea over ferries
17 July 2017
Hot on the heels of her attempt to blame the SNP Government for the failure by successive
Labour and Tory governments at Westminster to provide Broadband to Grimsay, Ealasaid
MacDonald (letters 14th July) is now blaming the SNP Government because "locals are
not able to get on and off the islands at short notice" due to the ferry being full.
This is odd, because CalMac say "There have been no occasions outwith the Hebridean
Festival period that passengers were unable to travel due to lack of space on the
vessel" (Crawford Paterson, CalMac Group Insurance Manager, 14th July 2017).