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SKYE BRIDGE TOLLS (HANSARD)

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Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrat MP for Ross, Cromarty & Skye, asked the secretary of state for Scotland what asse...
Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrat MP for Ross, Cromarty & Skye, asked the secretary of state for Scotland what assessment he had made of the impact of the Skye bridge tolls upon the economy of the Highlands and Western Isles.(OA 18 Dec col 931).

The under-secretary of state for Scotland, George Kynoch, replied: 'All our research shows it has been an enormous success'.

Kennedy responded by declaring that the Scottish Liberal Democrats would be campaigning in the general election on a manifesto commitment to abolish the tolls.

And he asked if the government would take into account evidence provided to the Highland Regional Council and Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise, which showed that the number of heavy goods vehicles and coaches using the bridge had declined by 25 per cent since it opened. 'That is having a drastic economic impact on Skye and the Western Isles', he said.

The minister again replied that 'the bridge has brought significant benefits to the constituents of Skye'.

He added: 'It was the idea of the Highland Regional Council that the bridge should be constructed. If tolls were to be removed, that would put a burden on other areas of local authority expenditure.

'I challenge the hon. gentleman: if he is willing to put such a pledge in his election manifesto, where would he cut services in the Highlands to pay for it?'

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