Fuel price cut comes into force for remote islands

The cost of fuel should drop by five pence today (Thursday) but there is doubt whether motorists will notice any difference as prices have risen by more than that level in the last two weeks.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury is visiting Skye today to formally launch the Rural Fuel Rebate pilot scheme.

A spokesperson for the UK Treasury said the scheme had been well subscribed in the Hebrides as well as the Northern Isles, islands in the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly with over 90 businessAes applying to take part.

Although any effort to drop fuel prices is to be welcomed, there is concern that this scheme will not offer much noticeable benefit to local people or the beleaguered local hauliers who are already facing huge rises in ferry fares with the removal of RET.

Retailers have signed up to the scheme but many are unconvinced it will ease the price pain for their customers and will create an administrative burden for them.

As the price of fuel continues to rise Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said: “It is important that with the Fuel Duty cut being implemented in the rural areas that the price difference between Stornoway and Inverness is only 50 per cent of what it was at the beginning of the week.”

Despite the concerns expressed locally, Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury is convinced it will make a real difference.

On his visit to Skye he said: “It’s terrific that islanders in Scotland and the Isles of Scilly will finally begin to see a cut in fuel prices after years facing higher costs. This will make a real difference to people who face the highest fuel costs in the country.”

He added: “The Government has shown the naysayers that real action is possible and this discount will deliver real benefits to motorists and businesses in remote island communities.

“This shows yet again how a government for the whole of the United Kingdom can, and is, delivering real results for Scotland.”

Read full story in today’s Stornoway Gazette.