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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD CONDEMNS FUEL POLICY THAT DAMAGES NORTH-EAST

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

LABOUR’S FUEL TAX HINDERS RECOVERY

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has highlighted figures showing that the costs of diesel with tax in the UK makes it the most expensive in Europe and warned that the UK Labour Government must take account of how its road fuel taxes are affecting the transport industry and the costs of goods in terms of economic recovery.

The impact disproportionately affects the North-east and other areas of rural Scotland, where it adds significantly to the cost of exporting and importing goods.

The latest figures from the European Commission’s Directorate General Energy and Transport – published last week - show that diesel in the UK is the most expensive in Europe at 1.23 Euros a litre. This compares with an EU average on 1.06 Euros a litre.

However when tax is excluded the price of diesel in the UK drops dramatically and is the second lowest in Europe at 0.44 Euros a litre. Only Bulgaria is lower at 0.42 Euros a litre.

The SNP candidate is concerned that the high price of diesel is damaging economic recovery in Banff & Buchan and the many rural industries, including the agricultural sector that have to use diesel powered vehicles on a daily basis.

Commenting on the impact of Labour's fuel tax policy the SNP's Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The Treasury’s tax take on diesel is modern day highway robbery. It is a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying more than 30p a litre more than motorists in Romania and Bulgaria.

“Key sectors like the haulage industry are reeling from forecourt costs, and Alistair Darling must use his Pre-Budget report next month to bring down the cost of fuel. Another factor that cannot be ignored is how these costs impact on the costs of goods in the stores for ordinary households.

"Economic recovery is being slowed by the cost of transporting goods and raw materials and is making the North-east and Scotland as a whole less competitive in critical global markets.

"Here in Banff & Buchan we have high quality food and drink manufacturers that have to compete with companies elsewhere who can get their goods to market much more cheaply. The result is slower recovery, fewer jobs and less money coming into the local economy.

"Our vital haulage industry and the many producers in Banff & Buchan need all the support they can get and that is simply not happening with this oppressive fuel tax regime."

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