Western Isles Holyrood prospective Labour candidate Donald Crichton is proposing a radical new plan to tackle high fuel prices in the islands and other remote rural areas in Scotland.
Mr Crichton is proposing a Fuel Duty Rebate that would give the hardest-hit motorists a £400 a year rebate on fuel taxes.
He said: “I am proposing a Remote and Rural Car Owners rebate of £400 a year to help hard hit motorists in the Western Isles and similarly remote areas, financed out of the £1.5 billion that the Scottish Government gets every year from fuel taxes.
“My scheme is affordable, practical and fair. I am making it my personal pledge to the people of the Western Isles in the coming election that this is what I will fight for if elected with or without the approval of my party and whatever party takes office in May. The interests of this constituency come first. I will defend the islands interests on this issue.”
“The scheme would cost about £5 million a year to trial in the Western Isles, which is less than 1% of what the SNP Government gets every year from fuel taxes. If the scheme was extended to all remote and rural areas, it would cost £70 million, which is a small fraction, just 5%, of what the Scottish Government gets from fuel taxes each year. ”
“The problem of high fuel prices is most acute in remote rural areas like the Western Isles where the car is a necessity, not a luxury, where average incomes are lowest, and petrol prices are by the far the highest. It is time for action on this issue and that is why I am putting forward a new, radical and workable proposal.
“The fact is that the SNP Government gets £1.5 billion every year from fuel taxes (fuel duty and VAT) raised by Westminster. If Alex Salmond thinks these taxes are too high, he can give the money back to Scottish motorists. He doesn’t need new powers or permission from Westminster to provide the rebate which I have proposed.
“That is why I am calling for a Remote and Rural Car Owners rebate of £400 a year, to be paid out of the £1.5 billion that the Scottish Government gets every year from fuel taxes. The scheme should be administered by local authorities in remote rural areas - there is no need to create a new Edinburgh quango.
“I invite Alasdair Allan to join me in putting my proposal forward to Alex Salmond so that we can at long last get action on this issue, and not just empty party propaganda.”