Bid to extend fuel discount scheme

Bid to extend fuel discount scheme

The Government has asked to increase the number of regions covered by a fuel duty discount scheme for those living in remote areas.

Ministers have already applied to the European Commission asking for 10 areas to be added to the current rural fuel scheme. It is now asking for seven additional regions to be added to that list.

Cheaper fuel prices, along withbreakdown cover , are essential for motorists in remote areas where access to a vehicle is vital.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, who is the MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey in the Highlands, said: "High fuel prices in areas where cars are a necessity, not a luxury, is a major issue in rural communities across the UK.

"So, following a supplementary call for information, I'm pleased to announce that seven new areas will join the 10 areas already part of our new application. Reaching agreement with the commission will not be easy, but we will now get on with making that case as strongly as we can."

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Motorists living in these seven areas will be pleased their regions have been added to the Government's application to the EU to extend the rural fuel discount scheme.

"It's wrong that they are currently being unfairly penalised by high fuel prices as they rely so heavily on their cars for work and day-to-day life. It's also understandable that fuel retailers in these remote areas are selling petrol and diesel at higher prices due to increased distribution costs as a result of being so far from refineries.

"All we need now is for the European Commission to see the sense in easing the pain for these rural communities when they come to make their decision."

Rural drivers could get a 5p duty cut under the proposed extension to the scheme.

The seven areas the Government is now asking to be considered are in Strathcarron, Ullapool, Lairg, Mallaig and Halkirk in the Highlands; Oban in Argyll and Bute; and Hexham in Northumberland.

Copyright Press Association 2014