Two local politicians are calling on fuel retailers across the ‘shire to give evidence on extending the fuel rebate scheme into the region.
Liberal Democrats Sir Robert Smith MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine and Alison McInnes MSP for the North- east of Scotland are behind the call.
The Government is hoping to extend the fuel rebate scheme, which is currently available to the island communities of Scotland and the Scilly Isles, to those mainland rural areas with higher fuel costs. The scheme would enable retailers to claim back five pence per litre (5ppl) on petrol and diesel and lower prices at the pumps for consumers.
As an expanded scheme will require approval from the European Commission and other Member States the Government aims to submit an application and evidence in support of expanding the scheme in the autumn. That is why it is asking local retailers to provide information and help prove that they face pump prices and distribution costs which are challenging, much like people in the Highlands and Islands face.
Sir Robert Smith said: “I am encouraged by the Treasury’s willingness to consider adding rural areas, including Aberdeenshire, to the parts of the UK which are entitled to a fuel rebate.
“People in rural Aberdeenshire have often been frustrated by high fuel prices which realistically form an essential but significant cost to their household budgets. I hope that local fuel retailers will respond to the Government’s consultation and help make the strongest case possible to take to Europe.”
Ms McInnes added: “High fuel prices are a major concern for local people across Aberdeenshire and I welcome the steps the UK Government has already taken by freezing and postponing fuel duty rises.
“But there’s still more that can be done to reduce petrol prices. I welcome this move to look into extending the island fuel rebate to rural areas on the mainland.
“Some rural and remote areas in the North East face higher petrol prices than their urban counterparts yet are more dependent on our cars to get around. Cutting fuel duty by a further 5p per litre would be a huge boost to local people and businesses.”
Further information on the current rebate scheme can be found at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/briefs/excise-duty/brief4011.htm