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SNP Government Mislead the Public Over ADS Business Travel Cuts
Posted on 30 April 2012
The European Commission have confirmed that SNP cuts to the Air Discount Scheme (ADS) were decisions made in Edinburgh by Nationalist Ministers alone. Answers given to Liberal Democrat MEP George Lyon confirm that the EC has played no role in the cuts to all business and charity related travel made by the Nationalist Government last year.
Commenting on the Commission’s answers, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur said:
“Businesses, charities, and voluntary organisations in some of the most remote parts of Scotland have struggled for a year now, dealing with increased airfares as a result of the cuts made to the Air Discount Scheme by the SNP government. This, at a time of economic difficulty and restricted budgets.
“In seeking to justify their decision to cut ADS, SNP Ministers have consistently argued that it was to comply with EU rules. However, when asked if they had sought restrictions on eligibility as a condition of the scheme’s continuation, the Commission have made it clear that they did “not make any such request”.
“Moreover, the Commission has acknowledged that such a scheme can bring “economic” as well as “social” benefits to island communities.
“These responses prove that while SNP Ministers have been busy hiding behind the Commission’s skirt, the truth is that the cut to ADS and increase in air fares to and from the islands were made and implemented in Edinburgh by the Scottish Government. Now that the principal justification for making the cut has been rubbished, it is time for the Transport Minister to reverse his decision”.
“The Scottish Government’s misleading attempt to pass the buck now ends. They alone are responsible for the ADS cuts. The SNP Government should be explaining to local businesses and the voluntary sector why they misled every traveller in the Islands. Businesses have had to cut back on representing the Islands at important trade fairs, conferences and workshops. That is because of SNP Ministers and no one else.
“This has been a conniving and dubious way to justify policy change, it shows utter disregard to the local businesses. Islanders wanted to know who made these cuts and why. It was not Europe; it was the Scottish Government. It was not to adhere to Commission regulations; it was to retain money to spend on their own centralised pet-projects.
"The Scottish Government must now reinstate the full ADS and apologise to Island travellers for misleading them. I am utterly appalled by the cynical way in which this Nationalist Government has behaved."
Posted on 30 April 2012
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