With a week to go to the Elections for members of a Scottish Parliament, SKAT would like to remind people of some of the quotes made over the last few years by certain people and parties:-
"Tolls are an issue of social justice...as an individual, as a Labour Party member and as a resident of Skye I am utterly opposed to the tolls and the Labour Party is committed to the abolition of tolls as soon as practically as possible." Donnie Munro, Labour Party, February 1997.
"This is the first opportunity we will have to sit down with a potential government to plan the detailed transition to a toll-free bridge and I welcome the commitment from the Labour Party to seeing the tolls removed as soon as is practical." Peter Peacock, Highland Council Convenor, Jan 1997.
Donnie Munro calls "for Labour and the Highland Council to establish a working group to oversee the abolition of tolls as soon as possible." January 1997.
Policy of tolls "wholly anomalous and utterly inequitable...In any democratic society, where justice is seen as a fundamental such inequities must be addressed." Peter Peacock, January 1997
"Our surveys clearly show the adverse impact of tolls on the local economy, through the disadvantage of the highest charges for a bridge or road in the European Community." Peter Peacock, Dec. 1996
"Skye Bridge tolls are costing the area £2.5m in lost income and their removal could create 208 full-time jobs and increase tourist visits by 10%." Highland Council, November 1996.
"The result of this study give us further ammunition as we piece together a detailed argument calling for the Government to remove tolls from the bridge." Peter Peacock, November 1996
"Having tolls removed is a high priority." Peter Peacock, May 1996
"The bridge should have been funded by the taxpayer as part of the road network. The principal is to get rid of the 'user pays' principal.", Calum MacDonald MP, June 1996
"Tolls have damaged the economy of Skye and the Western Isles.", Calum MacDonald MP, June 1996.
"Skye was landed in this situation both by the cynicism of the Scottish Office and the folly of the HRC consenting to the high toll regime. The task is now to undo that damage as quickly as possible." Brian Wilson MP, Dec. 1995
Brave words then (though it may have been easier to say whilst being a member of the Opposition) but what the people of Skye and the Western Isles need is brave action NOW.
The Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party have similarly promised ridding of the Tolls, as Labour did during their pre-election campaigns. Hopefully the old stereotype of a politician saying one thing and doing another does not run across ALL political parties.
A letter from SKAT to each Scottish Parliamentary Candidate asking for their support for the call to set up an independent public inquiry into the financing and operation of the bridge produced the following results:-
Of course, our very own member Robbie the Pict is also standing in the election as a member of the Scottish Peoples Mission (Constitutional Office)! SKAT wholeheartedly support ANY party which finally removes these iniquitous tolls and burden on the people of Skye and Western Isles.
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 1999.
Most recent revision, 29 April 1999