Transport Minister Must Act After Latest Protest

Yesterday, Saturday, November 6, on the Skye Bridge marching behind a flock of sheep and waving placards 'We're being fleeced' and 'Tolls are baaaaad for business' the SKAT campaign along with crofters and hauliers demonstrated their support for the petition to the Scottish Parliament.

Speaking at the Rally in Kyleakin Hall that followed the demonstration Hector Macleod, Area President of the Scottish Crofters union stated that the SCU had made representations to Skye Bridge Ltd for the implementation of Calmac's ferry concessions but had had no success. He spoke of the particular difficulties for crofters. Liberal Democrat MSP John F. Munro, Jamie McGrigor, Scottish Conservative MSP and member of Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs Committee and Margaret Paterson, Highland Councillor expressed heartfelt sympathy at the plight of crofters and gave support to the petition as a means of some help to them. Jamie McGrigor relayed the support for the petition of Murray Tosh, Conservative Spokesperson for Transport and Scottish Conservative Leader, David McLetchie.

Support from the SNP came in a letter from Alex Salmond, SNP Convener who stated "The SNP used their allotted parliamentary time this week to highlight the crisis in rural Scotland. The very least they could do is to agree the small concessions you quite rightly seek for crofters and road hauliers." Support came also from Kenny MacAskill, SNP MSP and Shadow Transport & Environment minister Committee; "Politicians pledged to the people of Skye that tolls would go. The tragedy is the people of Skye have been sold out."

"Unless Sarah Boyack acts, she will go down in history as the political Patrick Sellar." A message from Norman MacAskIll of Drimore & Grogarry Farms, Lochboisdale South Uist contained the feelings from hauliers "Transport costs to these outlying islands is an increasing cost and In view of the present economic climate in the livestock sector, any savings in direct related costs like ferries, fuel and bridge tolls would be a most welcome bonus which could be passed on to the livestock producers in total. This would help to relieve what is fast becoming a major welfare issue with producers not being able to afford in the increasing cost of feeding a multiplying flock."

Following the Rally, SKAT Chairman, Ron Shapland stated that "The SKAT campaign will vigorously maintain its support for Crofters and hauliers at every stage as the petition goes through Parliament"

 


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Copyright Ray Shields, 1999.

Most recent revision, 28 November 1999