Fuel prices: Island communities to benefit from reduction.
The price motorists in the islands pay for fuel is being cut under a Government scheme.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the initiative, which will reduce the cost of a litre of petrol or diesel by 5p, would “make a real difference to people who face the highest fuel costs in the country”.
The price cut is being brought in in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, islands in the Clyde, the Northern Isles and Scilly.
To mark the scheme coming into force Mr Alexander will visit a petrol station on the Isle of Skye.
However concerns have been expressed that recent increases in the cost of fuel will limit its impact.
Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dem MP who represents Orkney and Shetland, told BBC Radio Scotland he had received evidence from Shetland that “a local garage had had the price they were required to pay put up 2p per litre this week and 3p per litre last week”.
When asked if that meant there would be no difference in the price paid by motorists, he said: “That’s the danger.”
However he insisted the scheme would “have an impact for people as long as everybody plays fairly and honourably”.
Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP for the Western Isles, said fuel prices had already “increased by the equivalent of the discount over recent weeks”.
He added that the average cost for petrol and diesel had gone up by almost 20p a litre “since Danny Alexander first mooted the idea of a discount scheme”.
The Nationalist argued: “There are clearly real questions over whether people will feel the benefit of the discount.”
Mr MacNeil said: “It is simply unacceptable that in energy-rich Scotland, motorists and businesses are struggling to cope with prices at the pump. These record fuel costs are putting a huge and unnecessary amount of pressure on our communities and on vital sectors of the Scottish economy, and risk choking the recovery we are building in Scotland.”
But speaking ahead of his visit to Skye Mr Alexander 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.”
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