Wednesday, 29 April 2009



Commenting before a debate in the Scottish Parliament on the London government’s further increase in fuel duty Highland & Islands MSP Dave Thompson highlighted the hypocrisy of the LibDems on the issue after it was revealed that a majority of their MPs had voted to support the Labour government’s increase.

Tomorrow’s debate has been set up by the LibDems in the Scottish Parliament and is set to debate the impact of higher fuel duty on rural areas.

Commenting Mr Thompson said: “Pushing up fuel prices is absolutely the wrong thing to do in the grip of recession and this increase will actually hinder economic recovery. “Just when the economy should be stimulated we have the LibDems voting for an increase which will hit already hard-pressed households and businesses – in particular the haulage industry. “Increases in fuel duty are not a green tax, they are a Brown one, and people in the Highlands and Islands have had their fill of fuel duty increases. “The SNP has long campaigned for fair and reasonable fuel duties – particularly in our rural areas. “That is why our MPs have put forward amendments for a fuel duty regulator to halt the volatility that raises from fuel prices. That is why our MPs have supported and led the calls for fuel derogations for rural areas. “It therefore comes as a surprise that the majority of LibDem MPs have supported Labour’s planned increase in fuel duty. They cannot even escape with the excuse that it is their colleagues south of the border as three of their Scottish MPs – including former leader Menzies Campbell – voted for this increase. “This is another example of how the LibDems think they can treat the voters like fools by making false promises in the north of Scotland whilst voting to increase fuel tax south of the border.

Last night’s vote on the fuel duty increase – showing a majority of LibDem MPs voting for an increase, can be read here: 2. The LibDem’s motion in the Scottish Parliament can be read here S3M-4006 Liam McArthur: The Economy—That the Parliament notes the UK Budget and the plans to increase fuel duty; recognises the high premium over the national average paid for fuel at filling stations in remote rural and particularly island areas and the financial and social impact that this has on individuals and businesses; believes that increased fuel duty will have a damaging effect on the economy and competitiveness in these areas, not least due to the limited public transport alternatives; notes that current EU law allows fuel duty to be cut by up to 2.4p per litre and that this power is already used in France, Portugal and Greece, and calls on the Scottish Government to work with the UK Government and the European Commission before the final passage of the Finance Bill to construct a derogation under the EU energy products directive, or otherwise, to permit variable rates of duty for specified remote rural areas to bring down the price of fuel at the pump to that available in other parts of the United Kingdom.

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