LOCAL MP and Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has spoken of his wish to drive down fuel prices and give motorists in areas such as Hawick a better deal.
And the Coalition’s commit-ment to tackle record prices at the pumps by considering a ‘fair fuel stabiliser’ – which would smooth out the peaks and troughs between existing duties and the cost of fuel in different parts of the country – has also been backed by the town’s Tory MSP, John Lamont.
Mr Moore said: “I understand people’s concerns regarding current fuel prices, especially in rural areas like the Borders where we are seeing prices as high as £1.40 per litre of fuel.
‘‘Labour’s huge financial deficit which they left behind has meant that the Coalition Government is unable to reduce the tax on fuel, without having to make further cuts elsewhere.” But outlining a possible new system where fuel duty would go down when the oil price increases, and up when the oil price falls, so the motorist would be protected from some of the volatility of prices, Mr Moore said: “This is a very complex area, but it is being considered as carefully as possible.”
He has stressed that there are “complex interactions” between the existing duties and the cost of fuel in different parts of the country which need to be addressed, adding: “We want to see a fairer way of reflecting the duty across the country and that’s what the Prime Minister has made clear and what he and the Treasury ministers are working on very hard at the moment.
“We will bring forward proposals as soon as we can.”
Holyrood member Mr Lamont has also conceded that tough decisions on tax are having to be made to clear the debt legacy inherited from Labour, but he thinks the cost of fuel for people living in rural areas deserves to be looked at separately.
“I understand that the European Union has strict rules which limit such tax variations, but the tax system should be allowed to distinguish between fuel users living in areas like the Borders compared to people in more urban areas”, he said.
“I hope that Hawick will be included in any discount that the Government introduce.”