Dennis Robertson MSP is calling on the UK Government to “stop talking and take action” to stimulate the economy after the Millers Restaurant and Visitor Centre in Midmar closed down this week.
The Aberdeenshire West SNP MSP pointed out that the French government had struck a deal with fuel producers and distributors to cut the cost of fuel by six eurocents per litre for three months to boost economic activity, pending more permanent measures to curb fuel prices.
Taxes make up about half of the pump price of petrol in France (54%) – less than in the UK at 60%, the highest rate amongst all EU countries.
Mr Robertson said that a cross party campaign at Westminster led by SNP MPs forced a u-turn on a further 3 pence rise from the Treasury, planned for this August, but he called for further action to boost growth and to protect communities in rural Scotland.
Mr Robertson said:“The announcement that the Millers at Midmar stopped trading is a big blow for the community, the 40 employees and their families.
“The cost of filling a large family car with petrol rose to almost £100 this month and it is hurting out of town visitor centres.
“The latest decisive and immediate action from the French government contrasts with a Conservative and Lib Dem coalition Government which continues to sit on its hands while the economy flounders.
“The French government has recognised that high fuel costs are hammering businesses and households and choking back growth. Yet fuel tax is even worse in the UK, where we have the highest rates of tax on both petrol and diesel in all EU countries.
“The SNP led a successful cross-party campaign at Westminster which forced the Treasury to halt a further three pence rise in fuel duty. But this damage-limitation alone is not enough to stimulate growth.
“Rather than arguing amongst each other, the coalition needs to stop dithering and take decisive action to get the economy in Rural Scotland moving.”