Candidates hit out on fuel

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TWo prospective Holyrood candidates have hit out at the high price of fuel and its effect on local businesses.

Aberdeenshire West SNP candidate Dennis Robertson said: “Last week passing through Ballater, you could not fail to see the colossal fuel hike in fuel prices, which is impacting more in our rural communities and like never before.

“In April 2009, SNP council candidate George Parkinson welcomed the grant from the Scottish Government to the Riverside Garage in Ballater, when fuel was under £1 a litre.

“The £27,875 grant was the largest of the three grants allocated to petrol stations across Aberdeenshire.

“I personally congratulated the Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead at the time, to recognise the importance of supporting Ballater’s fuel lifeline.

Third week of January 2011, at the same petrol station, the fuel price was just under £1.30.”

He said farmers and hauliers were furious at the planned one penny rise in fuel duty for April at a time when pump prices were already rising steeply.

He said they were considering fuel price protests similar to those that brought parts of the country to a standstill in 2000 when petrol pumps ran dry.

In a letter to Mr Osborne, Stewart Whyte, Conservative MSP candidate for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, said: “The high cost of fuel is causing particular hardship to the farming, fishing and haulage industries.

“In all these industries, the cost of fuel is one of their largest outgoings and it is an unavoidable part of their operations.

“Farming and fishing are hit twice-over as they are also major users of the haulage industry.

“Increased haulage costs have to be passed on the customers, causing consequential increases in prices the shops and thereby increasing inflation.

“In rural areas cars are not a luxury, they are a vital part of everyday life. “Many motorists feel they are seen as a cash cow for the government and that they are routinely treated unfairly by government.

“The motorist, the haulier, the farmer and the fisherman are currently being asked to shoulder too high a burden.

Mr Whyte was raised on a Banffshire farm and is currently a teacher at Aboyne Academy in rural Aberdeenshire.

He is also a list candidate for the North-east region.