Talking RET With the MSPs

Posted on: Wednesday, 18 April 2012 by Mike Webb in categories Road, Scotland, SNP, Labour, Conservative

On Tuesday 17 April, FTA could be found in the hallowed halls of the Scottish Parliament, meeting a cross-party range of MSPs to discuss the impact of Scottish Government plans to end Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) for commercial vehicles.

Although seemingly a relatively small-scale issue in whole Government budget terms, the impact of the Governments plans on individual companies could prove disastrous for island communities. Essentially, RET was established to provide some support for those who must use a ferry for business or personal reasons, and to stimulate island tourism by making the Scottish islands a cheaper place to visit. It has worked very effectively.

Islands are particularly vulnerable to inflation due to their peripherality from other centres of population, and it is a concern to FTA that by ending this concession over the cost of the ferry for commercial vehicles (it is set to continue for cars) then transport costs for getting goods to and from the island will sharply increase, meaning the cost of an island holiday will do likewise.

FTA met with MSPs from the SNP, Conservative and Labour parties yesterday as part of an ongoing dialogue with Scotland's highland politicians on this issue. This has brought some useful results in terms of both keeping the issue live for MSPs, and showing FTA where the knowledge gaps are that could be filled to make industry's case even more compelling.

FTA thanks the MSPs involved - Mike MacKenzie, Alex Johnstone, David Stewart and Alasdair Allan, and will be speaking wtih them all regularly as the Government's investigations into its RET plans move forward.

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