ConDem Government must put in place its promised fuel duty regulator

SNP demand end to fuel duty highway robbery

The SNP's candidate for Falkirk East and SNP Transport spokespserson Councillor Angus MacDonald has called on the UK Government to deliver on its manifesto pledge for a fuel duty regulator as record high fuel duty rates put small businesses on a knife-edge.

As the increase in VAT to 20 per cent hit on 4 January, fuel duty also rose to a record high putting further pressure onto already hard-hit small firms’ cash-flow.

In opposition, the Conservative Party promised to introduce a fuel duty stabiliser – a mechanism to ensure an automatic freeze on fuel duty increases and a reduction in duty to match any increases in VAT revenues from higher pump prices - which the SNP has been calling for fro a number of years.

Scotland has the second highest diesel price in Europe, yet, on average a litre of diesel is made up of 51 per cent product price and 49 per cent tax, whereas in the UK the average is 38 per cent product price and 62 per cent tax.   

In real terms, fuel duty will rise by one per cent above inflation each year from April 2011 to April 2014. Councillor MacDonald is concerned small businesses will not be able to sustain such high prices and vowed to make the need for a Fuel Duty Regulator and bringing down the cost of fuel a key Holyrood election issue.

Angus MacDonald pointed out that cutting fuel by 10p per litre in Scotland would only cost about half of the estimated £1 billion in extra revenue the Treasury is set to rake in as a result of rising oil
prices.

Angus MacDonald, who is also the SNP's Economic Development spokesperson said:

“The country is crying-out for action to bring down fuel prices, and the Holyrood election campaign is a vital opportunity for Scotland to demand that the Scottish Parliament has the economic and financial tools needed to act in the interests of our communities and the travelling public.  Westminster – where the powers currently lie – has failed to do anything, and the Tories and Lib Dems have reneged on their pre-election promises.

“This is a huge issue on the doorstep and the forecourts – and the SNP will make it a big issue in the election.  It is a key illustration of why we need to build up Scotland’s Parliament, and equip it with the full powers of financial responsibility.

“A Fuel Duty Regulator – which the Tories supported before the election – would bring duty down when oil prices go up.  Cutting fuel by 10p per litre in Scotland would only cost about half of the
estimated £1 billion in extra revenue the Treasury is set to rake in as a result of rising oil prices.

“It’s a national scandal that, in Europe’s oil-richest country, Scots are paying among the highest fuel prices.”

“The country’s small businesses are not just hard-hit by the recent VAT rise, but also by record high fuel prices which has come at the most fragile of times. It is imperative the ConDem Government acts now and introduces the regulator to avoid a relentless flow of fuel duty increases that simply put small firms on a knife-edge.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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