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Fuel discount proposed for rural areas

Fri, 24 Jan 2014

MOTORISTS in exceptionally rural areas could see their fuel bills cut by up to 5p a litre under proposals aimed at easing the burden on the UK's remotest families.

The UK Government has asked the European Commission to consider seven new regions across Scotland and in a part of north-east England.

Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, a Highlands MP, 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."

The applications cover postal areas in Strathcarron, Ullapool, Lairg, Mallaig and Halkirk in the Highlands; Oban in Argyll and Bute; and Hexham in Northumberland.

They are added to 10 applications already identified in the Highlands, Argyll, Cumbria, Devon and North Yorkshire.

A final decision is expected from the commission later this year. If approved, it could benefit about 125,000 people, according to the Treasury.

The current rural fuel scheme began in March 2012 in the Hebrides, Northern Isles, islands in the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly.

It allowed retailers there to register with HM Revenue and Customs to claim back 5p a litre on unleaded petrol and diesel within eligible areas.

By Press Association reporter