Jamie McGrigor, Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP, has today (Thursday) welcomed the release of a report from Transport Consultancy MVA into the Scottish Government’s highly controversial decision last year to remove RET (road equivalent tariff) from commercial vehicles in the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree.
This policy decision led in many cases to a 50% haulage fares rise, with fares due to rise by another 10% in March. The report concludes that the removal of RET was “having a negative impact across all islands/areas”, particularly on the more remote islands.
Commenting today Jamie, who made repeated representations to Ministers on this subject on behalf of concerned constituents and remained in close contact with representatives of hauliers and other sectors including crofting, said:
“This report is to be welcomed and entirely vindicates the clearly expressed views of local hauliers and businesspeople in the Western Isles, Coll and Tiree that the introduction of RET on commercial vehicles had had a positive impact on the local economy and had been passed on by hauliers to other sectors. The claims of Scottish Government Ministers that the benefits of RET had not been passed on by hauliers have been shown to be completely inaccurate.
“The Transport Minister should now apologise to my constituents in the Western Isles and Coll and Tiree for instigating a policy change which has caused real harm to the economies of these fragile communities. He also needs to set out urgently how he will respond to the report’s findings and what action he will now take to support hard pressed local hauliers and businesses.”