FARES on ferries in the Northern Isles are to be frozen for the remainder of the winter, the Transport Minister has announced.

Jenny Gilruth said keeping the cost unchanged – instead of increasing fares as normal in January – showed the Scottish Government was “working hard” to help those struggling with rising costs.

The freeze will see ticket prices remain at their current levels in Shetland and the Orkneys until the end of March.

Work on fares after this said to be “ongoing” and will be outlined in due course.

The National:

Gilruth (above) said: “At a time where many people are facing rising costs in all areas of their lives – from heating their homes to the cost of the weekly shop – the Scottish Government is working hard to help them where we can.

“We want our transport system to be affordable and accessible. This is especially important for island residents and communities who rely on our lifeline ferry services, so we are freezing fares on the Northern Isles network until the end of March.”

She added: “In the longer term, the Islands Connectivity Plan will include a review of ferry fares, alongside our wider 'fair fares' review, to ensure that our fares policy continues to address the needs of island communities.”