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McATHUR & SCOTT START THEIR AIR DISCOUNT SCHEME BATTLE
Posted on 30 May 2011

Northern Isles MSPs, Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur, are seeking support from other Highlands and Islands MSPs for Liam McArthur’s Parliamentary motion calling for an urgent review of Government cuts to the Air Discount Scheme (ADS).

 
The motion records the “benefits that the Air Discount Scheme has brought to Scotland’s island communities since it was first introduced in 2006”, saying that, even with the Air Discount Scheme reduction, “the cost of flying to and from the islands imposes a considerable financial burden on island life.” The motion highlights the “very real concerns that the exclusion of business travel from the Air Discount Scheme has caused to businesses as well as to the public and voluntary sectors in the islands” and calls for an urgent review of the impact these cuts are having.
 
Liam McArthur said, “This was an issue which was raised again and again during the election. There was justified anger at the impact this cut is having on businesses and on the public and voluntary sectors. Many voluntary groups will now suffer geographical exclusion if they cannot afford to travel. So far my motion has attracted cross-party support, with the exception of the SNP. I hope all those elected to serve Highlands & Islands constituencies and the region will recognise the importance of persuading the Scottish Government to think again.”
 
Tavish Scott added, “Many people across Shetland have raised with me their concerns about this cut to the ADS which the SNP imposed without consultation. A review would show just how serious the impact of the cut is for Island organisations. I know that, already, many Shetland voluntary and charitable bodies facing higher flight costs are not able to attend meetings that they wanted to attend. Shetland businesses are also facing increased costs. I cannot understand how the SNP can justify taking away this badly needed support from Islanders in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. Liam’s motion is just the first of the many ways this issue is going to be raised.”
 
ENDS
 
Note to editors- full text of motion:
Liam McArthur: Damaging Impact of Air Discount Scheme Changes—That the Parliament notes the benefits that the Air Discount Scheme has brought to Scotland’s island communities since it was first introduced in 2006; considers that, even with the Air Discount Scheme reduction, the cost of flying to and from the islands imposes a considerable financial burden on island life; understands, therefore, the very real concerns that the exclusion of business travel from the Air Discount Scheme has caused to businesses as well as to the public and voluntary sectors in the islands; considers that the change, on which there was no prior consultation, means that businesses and other organisations now either have to face even higher travel costs or have to miss out on opportunities to take part in meetings and other events on the Scottish mainland and further afield, and would welcome an urgent review of the impact of the exclusion of business travel.
 
Posted on 30 May 2011
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