The UK has submitted an application to the European Commission to extend the rural fuel rebate scheme to 10 remote rural areas – seven of which are in Scotland.
Danny Alexander, a Highlands MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, today confirmed that the UK government is now seeking supplementary information on the rural fuel rebate scheme.
Following a careful assessment of all the evidence, three towns in England and seven areas in Scotland were judged to have met strict criteria, for example exhibiting pricing characteristics similar to the islands eligible for the existing discount, which the EC have indicated will be critical in their assessment.
In line EU competition law, the UK now needs to secure approval for the expanded scheme from the EC. An application and supporting evidence has been submitted to the EC.
Alexander said: “As a Highlander, I know all too well that fuel prices tend to be highest in areas where a car is needed the most. We’ve already delivered a tax cut for remote islands and now want to extend that to mainland rural areas that suffer from similarly high prices to the islands.
“We have put together the strongest possible evidence base to try and maximise the places that get it. As I’ve said before, it won’t be easy to get this agreed with the Commission, but I will do everything I can to make this happen.”
The rural areas that could see fuel duty cut are;
- Acharacle (Lochaber), postcode: PH36
- Achnasheen (Ross & Cromarty), postcode: IV22
- Appin (Argyll and Bute) postcode: PA38
- Carrbridge (Badenoch and Strathspey), postcode: PH23
- Dalwhinnie (Badenoch and Strathspey), postcode: PH19
- Gairloch (Ross & Cromarty), postcode: IV21
- Strathpeffer (Ross & Cromarty), postcode: IV14
A final decision on the areas in the scheme and the price discount is expected from the EC next year. If the extension is approved this will raise the number of people benefitting from the rural fuel scheme to nearly 120,000.