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For those of us who live in the North or Inner Isles, the ferry service provided by Orkney Islands Council is a life-line.
Without the Council subsidising the Scottish Government by £2.5m a year to provide the service, we would be very isolated indeed.
Without a regular Ferry Service, the economy of the islands would suffer, the populations would soon dwindle, and many islands might become completely uninhabited.
However, many of us struggle to afford the cost of the fares which is why Orkney Labour are launching an online appeal for fairer fares for residents of the Isles.
We welcome the Councilís campaign for the Scottish Government to pay their fair share of the running cost and contribute to improving the fleet.
We want Orkney and Shetland to be put in the same position as the Western Isles.
There is one practical step that the Council could make now that would make life much easier for us which should not cost too much.
Orkney Labour have launched an online petition (non-party-political) to change how we can buy the subsidized islander discount tickets.
At present, to get the full discount we need to buy 50 one-way ferry tickets which for many people who are struggling on a low income, is impossible.
The result is that those who most need the lower rates cannot get them and must pay the full rate, while those who are wealthier can get the lower rate.
We are therefore asking that residents of the North and Inner Isles be allowed to buy single tickets at the lower fare in the same way that we get reduced ferries and flights to the Scottish mainland.
We are asking those who live in Orkney who support this request to sign this petition and lobby their councillors.
You can write to your councillor at Orkney Islands Council, School Place, Kirkwall, KW15 1NY
or on the Internet via this link >>>