Transport infrastructure on the islands got a tremendous boost last week when the Scottish Government announced an investment of £1.9 million in the next financial year to limit the increase for hauliers on the Western Isles and the introduction to a three year winter pilot ferry service stating next month between Loch Boisdale and Mallaig after having listened to the SNP Group on the Comhairle's campaigns.
Commenting on the RET investment, SNP councillor of Stornoway South, Rae Mackenzie said:"I welcome this further addition to the Scottish Government's RET help for the Western Isles. Having campaigned for RET over many years-despite complete opposition to RET by previous Tory,Labour and Lib./Lab governments,it has made
a fantastic difference to Islanders, since the SNP introduced RET on coming to power in 2007.
Despite the restraints by Westminster on Scotland's block cash allocation,it is good news that the Scottish Government,is continuing to back these islands,and RET."
The Loch Boisdale-Mallaig ferry announcement was great news for the Southern Isles and especially for Councillor Donald Manford, SNP Councillor for Barra and Vatersay, who had been campaigning for the ferry for ten years.
At a time when Westminster is passing on massive cuts to the Scottish Government, it is encouraging to see these types of investment by the Scottish Government in the Western Isles.
These two investments raise two very important points:
1) Why, at a time when the economy was not under such pressure, did a Labour government in Westminster and Holyrood not introduce RET for the islands and refuse the people of the Southern Isles a Loch Boisdale - Mallaig ferry
2) The Scottish Government see the benefits of improving the transport infrastructure throughout the islands, whereas Angus Campbell and his council administration are happily cutting the air services to the Southern Isles taking the islands back 40 years.