Falkirk District's Hauliers Up In Arms Over "Highway Robbery"
Saturday, 02 October 2010 17:55
SNP Candidate for Falkirk East, Councillor Angus MacDonald has backed calls by local hauliers for fair play on fuel duty. Commenting on yesterday’s fuel duty rise which puts another 1p on the cost of a litre of petrol and diesel Angus echoed SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP, who warned the Treasury over the impact soaring fuel prices on economic recovery.
Mr MacNeil said:
“This increase will have a crippling effect on businesses and households and threatens the wider economic recovery. Instead of stopping Labour’s highway robbery, the Con/Dem coalition is pushing up
the cost of living for Scottish households.
“It’s a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying the highest fuel prices in Europe. The Treasury cannot justify hammering hard pressed motorists and businesses. This duty increase is bad enough, but will be compounded with the VAT increase in January.
“What Ministers in London forget is that for people in rural areas, a car is a necessity and not a luxury. Pushing up fuel prices is absolutely the wrong thing to do as we emerge from recession and these increases will actually hinder economic recovery.
“Action to bring down fuel prices will be a key test for the coalition, and in particular for Danny Alexander as Treasury Secretary and Highlands MP. This is the real test for the Lib Dems and their deal with the Tories.
“In Opposition, both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats were vocal about soaring fuel prices and frank in their criticism of the Treasury. Now they are in government they must honour their word and cut fuel costs.
“A fair fuel regulator is the only way to ensure that Scotland’s essential industries and households are not continually hit by rising prices.
“Scottish motorists and our hard pressed haulage industry need immediate action to bring down fuel costs and the coalition government will be held to their word.”
Backing Angus MacNeil, Councillor Angus MacDonald said:
"Keeping regular contact with local businesses is part of my remit on Falkirk Council as the opposition spokesperson on Economic Development and Transport. I have listened closely to the issues local hauliers have raised and they claim the move to add 1p to the price of fuel is a 'smash and grab' approach which will seriously affect their running costs.
"Above-inflation fuel duty rises since 2009 has resulted in the freight industry feeling it is taking a harder hit than other industries and is having to take a disproportionate burden in narrowing the public sector deficit.
With another rise due in January and above-inflation rises set for the next three years, many hauliers hit hard by the recent recession now feel like they are on borrowed time.
"The price of oil is the highest it's been for three months and is set to rise further as we come into the autumn peak period of oil demand. With economic recovery still so fragile and the possibility of a double dip thanks to the ConDem government's excessive cuts, now is not the time to compound the problem with artificial price hikes."