THE SNP’s candidate for the Scottish Parliament’s Shetland by-election has said he aims to secure major savings for islanders if he wins the August 29 vote.

Tom Wills, pictured above, today launches a five-point plan to slash travel costs for Shetlanders. It includes free travel for foot passengers on all Shetland Islands Council (SIC) ferries between the islands; and 20% islander discount on NorthLink cabins and a three-year freeze on NorthLink fares on services to the mainland.

Wills would also seek to secure an increase in peak-season mainland sailings to meet freight demand and reduce pressure on passenger capacity, and ensure a long-term extension of the air discount scheme for islanders.

Wills said: “The SNP have already delivered a 50% discount on flights and a 20% discount on NorthLink fares and provided £5 million a year for SIC ferries.

“Over the last few weeks I’ve heard people’s concerns about the rising costs of island life and had many discussions about what we can do to address this. The plan I’ve put forward today is the first step towards securing lower travel costs for Shetlanders.

“We need a local ferry service that meets the needs of our islands and a link to the mainland that is affordable for families. Making inter-island ferries free for foot passengers would help the poorest in our society and encourage greater use of public transport and car sharing. I believe that we should be able to secure additional funding for this progressive change.

“I can’t solve these problems overnight, but if elected, I’ll be at Nicola Sturgeon’s door on day one to make sure the Scottish Government backs my plan to cut travel costs. I’ve already taken the opportunity to bend the ear of senior figures in the Scottish Government and it’s clear to me that they’re interested in new ideas to help islanders."

Ten candidates are bidding to succeed LibDem Tavish Scott.