THE SNP has seized on reports that introduction of a discount on fuel in remote rural areas in March’s Budget have been shelved by the Treasury. It is understood that the UK Government will not even apply to the European Commission until after Budget day on March 23.
The news comes as official statistics confirm significant rises in both the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) annual inflation and Retail Prices Index (RPI) inflation rates which have been partly pushed up by soaring fuel prices.
SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP said:
“This is not just disappointing, it is a despicable betrayal by the Tory LibDem government at a time when the country is crying out for action to bring down fuel costs.
“In their coalition agreement the Tories and LibDems clearly promised a pilot scheme, and now they are reneging on that commitment – they have not even raised the proposal with European Commission.
“People in the Highlands and Islands will be furious, not least Danny Alexander’s constituents who face some of the highest fuel prices in Europe. The LibDems pre-election promises at Westminster were clearly worthless, and now these failures will haunt them in the lead up to the Holyrood elections in May.
“Figures reported this week show how the UK Treasury will collect an additional £2 billion in tax from North Sea oil revenues this year, on top of the £10 billion previously forecast. Scotland’s significant wealth from North Sea oil should be used to help its people and businesses rather than simply filling Treasury coffers in London.
Businesses and motorists cannot afford to be kept hanging on by the UK government.
“The SNP is doing what we can to keep costs down for families and businesses with a freeze in the council tax, reduced business rates, and free prescription charges, but the UK government are refusing to act.”