'No subsidy' for Isles of Scilly helicopter link

Tresco, Isles of Scilly. Pic: Tom Corser
Image caption The Isles of Scilly, including Tresco (above), are about 28 miles south-west of Cornwall

Money to subsidise an Isles of Scilly helicopter link has been ruled out by the government, the St Ives MP Andrew George has been told.

Liberal Democrat MP Mr George made the comments following a meeting with Transport Minister Norman Baker.

The current service is being axed at the end of the month.

Mr Baker said millions of pounds would be spent improving St Mary's Airport as well as the harbours on the islands and in Penzance.

Mr George said he was talking to various companies to find a replacement helicopter service to start next year.

'Budgetary pressure'

British International Helicopters (BIH) will stop its service on 31 October after running into financial problems.

The Scillonian ferry runs for only seven months a year and the only other link, Skybus, is weather-dependent.

Mr George said: "This is a time of very deep austerity. [Mr Baker] reminded me they were under budgetary pressure from the Treasury."

Marion Bennett, from Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST), says it will cost millions to create a new helicopter service from scratch.

She is also holding a meeting with Mr Baker at the end of October.

Mrs Bennett said: "We will re-iterate the criteria required for our transport which is affordable, all year round, and reliable."

Mr George said: "I have been arguing for the past 15 years to make the case along with the Scottish islands which have substantial subsidies to assist both ferry and air services."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites