Government must not abandon plans for lower energy bills for Northern Isles

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael is calling on the Government not to back out of a scheme to lower energy bills for customers in the highlands and islands.

In March, the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, was instrumental in initiating a consultation that aimed to review the system of higher energy prices in the north of Scotland. It is estimated that the cost to residents in Orkney and Shetland is in the region of £70 per year.

Ahead of the Budget due on 7th July, Mr Carmichael is calling on the Chancellor to continue with the proposed consultation.

Mr Carmichael said:

“Consumers in the Northern Isles already have to contend with higher prices for basic commodities and have long suffered from energy bills that eclipse other parts of the UK.

“I was delighted when my former colleague, Danny Alexander, secured a commitment to reviewing and ultimately reducing energy prices for those in the highlands and islands. This built on the notable successes we achieved in government in securing a cut to fuel duty, installing the rural fuel rebate and making it easier for people to switch to a cheaper energy suppliers.

“However, this progress promises to be lost if the Government does not confirm their intention to proceed with this scheme for fairer energy prices. In a letter to me last week, the Treasury minister, Damian Hinds, was coy about plans to increase fuel duty in the Budget. We shall see what the Chancellor announces on 7th July, but a fuel duty rise and a lack of commitment to cutting energy prices will not be well received in the Northern Isles.

“I will continue to pressure ministers on the importance of fair energy prices for local residents and businesses.”  

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