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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD & SALMOND HIT OUT AT SPIRALLING FUEL COSTS

Sunday, 27 December 2009

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford and local MP Alex Salmond have called on the UK Government to reconsider its fuel duty escalator planned for April 2010 as the petrol prices soar across Scotland. They also highlighted the higher petrol prices which motorists are subjected to in rural Banff & Buchan.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), average petrol prices across the UK rose by 2.9p to 108.3p a litre in November – but in parts of rural Scotland, the price has risen to as much as 115p per litre. In many areas of the North-east prices are again nudging 110p per litre and above for petrol and diesel.

SNP MPs have long campaigned for an overhaul of the current fuel taxation system, which discriminates against rural Scotland in particular with fuel being a necessity and not a luxury.

The SNP's Westminster Group of MPs have put forward solid alternative fuel taxation proposals. Their proposals for a Fuel Duty Regulator would offset increased VAT paid on fuel as oil prices rise by reducing fuel tax. The overall result being the same amount of taxation income for the Treasury but cheaper pump prices.

Commenting, SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford said:

“The soaring prices we are seeing at the pumps now are just a glimpse of what is to come next year. In addition to rising inflation, 2010 will see increased VAT and the UK Government’s absurd fuel duty escalator which will push prices through the roof.

“Treasury Ministers in London fail to understand that in rural areas the operation of a car is a necessity rather than a choice. They must reconsider their disastrous fuel duty escalator."

Banff & Buchan MP Alex Salmond added:

“At present, taxes account for just over 70% of every pound spent at the pumps. The price of fuel influences the cost of every commodity and service brought to the area.

“Instead of pushing prices up with further tax hikes, the UK Government should be cancelling their fuel duty escalator and looking at measures which will stabilise fuel prices such as the SNP’s fuel duty regulator.”

“An oil rich nation such as Scotland should be reaping the benefits from our natural resources – not watching as North Sea revenues flow into a black hole in Treasury coffers while the Scottish budget is slashed.

“Westminster is holding Scotland back. We need the full fiscal powers of a normal, independent nation so we can set fair taxes that do not penalise rural motorists."

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