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Remote areas may get fuel duty cut

Fri, 18 Oct 2013

REMOTE RURAL areas in Scotland, North Yorkshire and Devon could benefit from a 5p-per-litre fuel duty cut, under plans put forward by ministers.

The Government has applied to the European Commission to vary the duty rates in 10 towns across Britain.

Discounts have never been permitted on the mainland before, although they are already in place for the Scottish islands, Isles of Scilly and other island communities in Europe.

But Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander said the "strongest possible evidence" had been put together to secure an extension.

The areas selected have consistently higher pump prices than are available in locations that already receive a discount.

They are also more than 100 miles by road from the nearest refinery, and have a population density lower than 135 people per square kilometre.

Mr Alexander, whose own Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey constituency would benefit from the scheme, said: "As a Highlander, I know all too well that fuel prices tend to be highest in areas where a car is needed the most.

"We've already delivered a tax cut for remote islands and now want to extend that to mainland rural areas that suffer from similarly high prices to the islands.

"We have put together the strongest possible evidence base to try and maximise the places that get it. As I've said before, it won't be easy to get this agreed with the Commission, but I will do everything I can to make this happen."

The commission is expected to announce its decision on the proposal - which could increase the number of Britons who benefit from the discounts to 120,000 - next year.

Retailers register with HM Revenue & Customs to claim 5p per litre relief on unleaded petrol and diesel for sale to the public.

The towns chosen for the application are:

:: Acharacle, postcode PH36 (Scotland - Lochaber),

:: Achnasheen, IV22 (Scotland - Ross & Cromarty)

:: Appin, PA38 (Scotland - Argyll and Bute)

:: Carrbridge, PH23 (Scotland - Badenoch and Strathspey)

:: Dalwhinnie, PH19 (Scotland - Badenoch and Strathspey)

:: Gairloch, IV21 (Scotland - Ross & Cromarty)

:: Hawes, DL8 3 (England - North Yorkshire)

:: Kirkby-in-Furness, LA17 (England - Cumbria)

:: Lynton, EX35 (England - Devon)

:: Strathpeffer, IV14 (Scotland - Ross & Cromarty)

By Press Association reporters