Rural areas suffering over fuel price rises

RURAL communities across Suffolk are set to suffer as petrol prices rapidly increase in the region.

Figures compiled by the AA show that the cost of petrol in the UK has increased by 4.44p – bringing pump prices to an average of 120.53p per litre (ppl).

The increase is set to leave drivers in rural communities struggling to cope with costs and almost 70% of road users in East Anglia are expected to cut back on usage.

In East Anglia, pump prices have risen to 120.7p, increasing by more than 4p in a month – a rise which is set to have a worrying impact on rural communities.

Cliff Horne, chairman of the Suffolk Pensioners Association, told the EADT: “I think that the whole thing is scandalous because rural areas are being targeted, as are the elderly.

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“Cars are not a luxury, they are a necessity and this needs to be realised. There are no luxuries in life and you shouldn’t be penalised for having a car, especially when you live within rural communities.

“It is a great concern for the elderly because pensions will not cover the costs and we will have no choice but to cut back.”

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A spokeswoman for Age Concern Suffolk also agreed that the increase would leave Suffolk’s “frail and vulnerable” residents struggling to maintain their independence.

Meanwhile, the research has also revealed that since mid-March the average price of diesel in East Anglia has increased by 4.8p – bringing the average price in the area to 120.7ppl.

The hike in pump prices has led to nearly 70% of East Anglia’s residents cutting back on expenditures and car use.

Simon Cairns, of the Suffolk Preservation Society, which aims to protect and enhance the countryside, said: “With our dispersed rural communities in Suffolk, many people are dependant on the use of cars, so the rise will adversely affect our communities in a very disproportionate way. This highlights the need for sustainable and affordable transport to be provided in rural Suffolk.”

Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI Petrol, said the hike in price was down to the increase in tax and price of crude oil.

He said: “The major part of price is tax and last week we reached a record when the price of petrol reached an average of 120p a litre for unleaded.

“Nearly 80p of this price is tax and this is due to the chancellor’s increase on duty.

“In addition we have also seen an increase in the cost of the product which has been caused by the weak pound against the US dollar.”

He later said: “We’re asking the next chancellor, whoever he may be, to hold back any further duty increase because the more price rises, the more people will cut back on using the product, especially those in rural communities.”

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