Far North MP Jamie Stone has today called for the all of the MPs standing to be Prime Minister to commit to cut fuel duty in rural areas to help families bearing the brunt of record petrol prices.
Analysis of official figures by the party reveals that households in rural areas pay £114 a week on transport costs, almost £40 more than those in urban areas. It means that rural households are shelling out almost £2,000 more a year on transport than those in urban areas.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for rural fuel duty relief to be doubled to 10p a litre, and for it to be significantly expanded to cover other rural areas. At present retailers of qualifying fuel can register with HMRC to claim 5 pence per litre relief on fuel, which leads to lower pump prices for residents. However, this is only available in the Northern Isles, Western Isles and a handful of highland postcodes.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats are demanding an emergency cut to VAT from 20% to 17.5%. Combined these measures would save a typical driver in rural areas £7.60 each time they fill up their car, or almost £200 a year for those who fill up their car twice a month.
Mr Stone said:
“If you live in a remote or rural areas, you are utterly dependent on your car to get to work, access medical care or get your kids to school.
“Thanks to SNP ministers in Edinburgh, trains services have been cancelled and local bus services run down so there are fewer alternatives than ever.
“People in rural communities are bearing the brunt of devastating fuel price hikes, yet the UK government is refusing to lift a finger to help.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to stand up for the residents of rural Scotland who have been badly let down by both the Conservatives and the SNP.
“All of the Tory MPs in the running to be the next Prime Minister should commit to helping rural families on the brink, by expanding the fuel duty relief scheme.”