SKAT welcomes freeze

A letter dated January 12, from Quentin Fisher of the Development Department Transport Division 1, SKAT received confirmation that the freezing of the Skye Bridge tolls at 1999 levels was 'achieved' as of 1 January, 2000.  The financial bill for this freeze will be approximately 750,000 per annum (by some co-incidence, also the size of the profit the ferry which used to run between Kyle & Kyleakin made!).  This bill is on top of the 600,000 per annum subsidy for concession tickets negotiated by the Scottish Office in 1997 not to mention the 15 million (PAC Report 1998) injected into the project itself by the Scottish Office. So, if the ferry had been left on, they could have still be running, but for free AND the Scottish taxpayer would have saved 600,000 a year! Yup, great deal...

SKAT welcomes the confirmation of the end of the relentless year-by-year escalation of the toll that freezing represents.  However, SKAT maintains that the abolition of the toll would not only redress the injustice of this project which places the cost plus extortionate profit on our communities but it would save the Scottish taxpayer 25 million.  In a face-to-face meeting on August 11, 1999 on Skye with Sarah Boyack, protesters asked for a meeting with her to present this case.  This requested has been repeated at intervals over succeeding months from that date.  In his letter, Mr Fisher who was asked by Sarah Boyack to respond to SKAT goes on to state: "The Scottish Executive in accordance with its policy has been directing its efforts towards delivering a freeze of the Skye bridge tolls at 1999 levels.  A meeting about abolition would therefore serve no further purpose."

SKAT will be writing to Sarah Boyack to clarify Scottish Executive policy on the Skye Bridge project. We will be asking whether their policy as reported by Mr. Fisher now rules out abolition even though SKAT can present a case that would save the Scottish taxpayer 25 million.  We will be asking whether the Scottish Executive is more interested in preserving a discredited PFI than acting responsibly with taxpayers' money.

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Copyright Ray Shields, 1999.

Most recent revision, 02 February 2000