Suffolk: Petrol price cut scheme ‘should include county’


- Credit: PA

The Government has been urged to include Suffolk in its proposals to extend the island fuel rebate scheme which enables people in remote areas to pay less for petrol and diesel.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous and Suffolk County Council’s Richard Smith have said that part or all of Suffolk had as much of a claim as Cornwall, Devon and the Highlands to be included in the plans.

Currently islanders off the coast of Scotland and in the Isles of Scilly get a 5p discount on petrol and diesel because the costs of transporting fuel there means prices are much higher.

Now petrol pumps and other fuel retailers in 35 other remote areas in Britain have been asked to let the Government know how much they charge for petrol and diesel so ministers can seek the necessary permission from the European Commission to extend the discount scheme.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said it would not be easy to get the required approval from the Commission and other European Union member states but the Government would strive to make it a reality for areas that qualified for the discount.

Mr Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “Petrol prices in some rural area of Suffolk are already much higher than those in urban centres or at large supermarkets – even before promotions and vouchers are used to reduce prices and entice customers further.

“That puts a strain on local people and rural businesses who shouldn’t be penalised.

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“Suffolk is a predominantly rural county and should be considered as part of any petrol price subsidy expansion.”

Mr Aldous said that his constituency in particular suffered a “triple whammy” of having fewer petrol stations, low-paid jobs and longer distances to travel to other parts of the region.

He said: “I will be drawing attention to the challenges we face here in Waveney, which are the same as in places such as Cornwall and the Highlands, but when you get to the south of Suffolk you’re entering the Home Counties.”

Announcing the proposals yesterday, Mr Alexander said: “The island fuel rebate provides much needed help to keep down fuel prices in areas where costs of transporting fuel mean prices are much higher.

“I know that there are other remote rural areas of the UK with similarly high fuel costs. As a Highlander, I know that for people who live in rural areas driving is not a choice, but a necessity. So while it won’t be easy to get this agreed with the Commission, I want to do everything I can to make this happen.”