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Fuel duty relief needs to be extended to rural Wales due to poor public transport says MP

16 Jun 2022 3 minute read
Ben Lake in the House of Commons

Fuel duty relief needs to be extended to rural Wales due to poor public transport, a west Wales MP has said.

Ceredigion MP Ben Lake made the comments after meeting with Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Helen Whately, to call for the scheme must be reconfigured to allow for the inclusion of areas from Wales.

The current scheme currently covers 17 areas of England and Scotland, including parts of the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Northumberland, Cumbria, Devon and North Yorkshire, but none in Wales.

It allows retailers to claim duty relief on unleaded petrol and diesel, and pass on the savings to customers.

Some parts of Wales have over the past two weeks seen fuel prices rise over £2 a litre for the first time, including one station in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, and another in Pont Abraham, Carmarthenshire.

Plaid Cymru MP Ben Lake called for the scheme to be reconfigured to take into account levels of investment in public transport infrastructure, with a highest proportion of people travelling to work by car (80%) compared to the regions of England or Scotland.

“I was pleased to secure a meeting with the Minister after raising the emergency facing people across my constituency directly with the Prime Minister last month,” Ben Lake said.

“The case for the extension of the Rural Fuel Relief Scheme to Wales is clear, and I strongly urged the Government to work constructively to help rural communities in this cost-of-living crisis.

“Poor public transport infrastructure sadly means that many of my constituents have few alternatives for essential journeys, and are dependent on using the car. At 80%, Wales continues to have the highest proportion of people travelling to work by car compared to the regions of England or Scotland.

“Rural areas of Wales are currently not supported despite meeting almost all of the criteria. The scheme must be reconfigured to take into account access to local public transport networks, as well as a guarantee of inclusion of Welsh areas within the scheme.

“I will be writing to the Minister to seek clarity on the rationale for Wales’s exclusion from the scheme and for further exploration of how the criteria can be updated.”

‘Forecourt misery’

Yesterday fuel prices jumped by more than 1p per litre in just a day to reach new record highs.

The average price of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Tuesday was 186.6p, according to data firm Experian.

The average price of diesel hit a new high of 192.5p per litre.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “New records in the average price of petrol have been set every day for the last month with a litre rising 21p, which has added more than £11 to a tank.

“RAC analysis of the cost of wholesale diesel shows it appears to be heading inexorably towards a previously unthinkable average of £2 a litre.

“Drivers appear to be up against the wall when it comes to high fuel prices, especially as the pound has lost so much ground on the dollar in the last week, which is bad news as fuel is traded in dollars.

“We hope the Government will now accept that it is the dramatic rise in wholesale prices that has led to forecourt misery for millions and act to ease their financial pain.”

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