PRESS RELEASE: LOCAL MSP SAYS OFT REPORT SHOWS NEED FOR FUEL DUTY REGULATOR FOR HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

Independent Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart has today highlighted an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Report into Road Fuels, saying that it has proven the need for a Fuel Duty Regulator in the Highlands and Islands.

The OFT Report found that, in August 2012, rural areas paid on average 1.9pence per litre (ppl) more for petrol and 1.7ppl more for diesel than urban areas due to the presence of fewer retailers and transport costs for getting fuel to rural forecourts. The OFT Report also found that fuel price rises over the last 10 years have been primarily caused by higher crude oil prices and increases in taxes and duties.

Discussing the OFT’s findings, Jean said:

“The UK has some of the cheapest road fuel prices in Europe before taxes are applied, but these prices are drastically increased at the pump.

“24ppl of the 60ppl rise in the last 10 years is directly due to taxes and duties rather than market forces.

“Consumers and businesses across the Highlands and Islands are being relentlessly punished by a tax regime that does not recognise the necessity of affordable fuel for the economic sustainability of the region.

“I urge the Liberal Democrat MPs in the Highlands and Islands to use what influence they have within the Coalition to deliver a better deal for their constituents by introducing the Fuel Duty Regulator the Highlands and Islands so desperately needs.”

PRESS RELEASE: JEAN URQUHART CHALLENGES TAVISH SCOTT OVER LIB DEM FUEL INACTION

Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart has expressed her disbelief at Tavish Scott’s comments in the Shetland Times on fuel prices, describing him as “detached from reality” and questioning just what the Liberal Democrats have done on fuel prices as part of the Coalition Government

Jean’s comments came as the Lib Dem MSP for the Shetland Islands acknowledged that it was “obviously not fair” for Shetland motorists to spend, on average, £250 more a year on fuel than those in Aberdeen, and demanded answers as to why Shetland motorists pay so much more.

Jean said:

“If Tavish really wants to see fuel prices reduced, perhaps he should have a word with his Liberal colleague in the Northern Isles, Alistair Carmichael.

“After all, Alistair is a key part of a Conservative-led Coalition Government that has consistently ignored the SNP’s calls to introduce a Fuel Duty Regulator that would help to alleviate the appallingly high fuel prices in rural communities.

“Just this week, the French Government have struck a deal with fuel producers and distributors to cut the cost of fuel by 6 eurocents per litre for three months, showing that

“The Liberal Democrats are continuing to show that, despite taking the Conservatives’ thirty pieces of silver to form a Coalition 2 years ago, they are delivering little for the Islands and not giving their constituents the strong representation that they deserve.

“They are little more than a politically neutered human shield for an uncaring, Conservative-led Government that continues to treat its most remote communities like dirt.

“I look forward to Tavish joining the SNP in calling for decisive Coalition action on fuel prices.”