Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichae, has backed Liberal Democrat plans to expand rural fuel duty relief and save families and businesses money during the cost-of-living crisis. Analysis by the Liberal Democrats suggests households in rural areas paid £114 in transport costs each week in the year to March 2020, almost £40 more than those in urban areas, equating to an extra burden of nearly £2,000 per year.
The party is calling for the rural fuel duty relief to be doubled to 10p a litre, and for it to be expanded beyond the current area covered which includes the isles, to places where “public transport options are limited and drivers are being disproportionately hit by rising fuel prices”.
Mr Carmichael said:
“An expanded fuel duty cut for rural communities would have a real benefit for struggling families and businesses here in the isles and elsewhere. When we brought in the original rural fuel duty relief scheme to help the most extreme cases – like the Northern Isles – it made a vital difference. That relief kept island fuel costs broadly in line with the rest of the UK, but with the gap widening again it is time for further action as my party has proposed. With rural and island areas far more reliant on personal vehicles than those in the cities, rising petrol costs hit our communities far harder.
“There is also a pragmatic case for the Treasury to consider – with the gradual transition to electric vehicles we can expect the take from fuel duty to only decline in the years to come. Now is the time to start weaning the government off fuel duty funds and find better ways to raise money for the future.”
Tim Farron, Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesperson, said:
“The Government must act now to help rural families on the brink, by expanding the fuel duty relief scheme.
“Ministers need to also crack down on the petrol profiteers who are cashing in on people’s misery at the pump.”