Transport Minister to meet hauliers over RET removal

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Transport Minister Keith Brown has agreed to meet local hauliers.

Western Isles MSP, Alasdair Allan, today (Tuesday) confirmed that the Minister for Transport, has agreed to his request for a meeting with hauliers about the changes in ferry fares for commercial vehicles.

Dr Allan is currently arranging the details of the meeting, and is pressing the Minister for it to be arranged at the earliest possible date.

Western Isles based companies have launched a lobby group – the Outer Hebrides Transport Group – to campaign against the Government’s decision to withdraw RET for commercial vehicles travelling to and from the islands.

With up to 175 per cent increase for commercial vehicles this will be a tax on every family and business in the islands. Since it was discovered that the SNP planned to withdraw support for commercial vehicles a vast number of businesses have already pledged support to prevent this ruinous tax being imposed.

Co-ordinator for the newly formed Outer Hebrides Transport Group, Gail Robertson of DJ Buchanan Haulage on Benbecula said: “In a matter of days we’ve seen in excess of 40 companies sign up to this campaign and the number is rising daily. It is only in the past couple of weeks that we’ve all realised what’s being proposed. We have support from all sectors of business in the community, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and the Road Haulage Association (RHA). I would urge any company that’s not had a chance to pledge their support to do so at: outerhebridestransportgroup@aol.co.uk. We all know the devastating impact these proposals will have on the islands. We now request an immediate suspension of the plans to allow proper consultation to take place.”

David Wood, owner of the haulage firm, Woody’s Express said: “This proposal from the SNP Government is economically illiterate and will have a devastating impact on the islands. The Scottish Government sneaked out this massive price hike without the courtesy of consulting any of those who will be affected. There isn’t a family or a business in the Western Isles who’ll not be hit because of this massive increase. It has to be stopped and our MSP, Alasdair Allan, should stop prevaricating and use his role as a government minister to secure as a matter of urgency, a meeting with his colleague, the Scottish Transport Minister.”

Chairman of community landowner Storas Uibhist, Angus MacMllan said: “The SNP Government can’t ignore or be unaware of the feelings of islanders. This newly formed Transport Group will fight to secure and support jobs and businesses in the islands. We can’t sit idly by and watch the imposition of this tax on every island family. We are encouraged by the support of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader, Angus Campbell. We now expect Highlands and Islands Enterprise to do likewise and point out the economic folly of the SNP Government’s haulage and household tax. It has to be stopped.”