Commitment to RET from Labour

SCOTTISH Labour Leader Iain Gray was in Stornoway yesterday (Monday) and gave his commitment to continuing RET should he gain power.

Mr Gray said the continuation of the scheme would boost the island economy and particularly the tourism industry.

Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan hit out at the announcement and said it was a ‘very belated imitation’ of the SNP’s policy.

Alasdair Allan commented: “I’m glad if Labour have eventually come round to the idea of fair ferry fares in the islands. However given that they did absolutely nothing to bring them about when they were in government for eight years, I find it difficult to see why they should be believed on this issue now.

“At the last Holyrood Election. I remember Labour arguing vociferously against RET on the grounds that tourists should not be helped with travel costs. The growth in the tourist industry in the Western Isles since RET has obviously put a tin lid on that argument. Even in the last few months, I have seen Labour MSP’s rubbishing RET in the Western Isles and calling it a waste of money, so Iain Gray has jumped on the RET bandwagon a bit too late to be believed in the islands now.

“Meanwhile, RET continues to be a flagship policy for the SNP Government, and one which I go into this election, campaigning to see continuing well into the future, and providing the boost that the Western Isles economy deserves.”

On his visit to Lewis, Mr Gray accompanied Labour candidate Donald Crichton on visits to the Harris Tweed Hebrides Mill in Shawbost and the Coastguard station in Stornoway.

He also met with representatives from Tighean Innse Gall who had invited him to celebrate their 20th anniversary and he met with Comhairle Leaader Angus Campbell.