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[Un-allotted Half Day] — Fuel Costs

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 7th February 2011.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie SNP Chief Whip, SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 4:31 pm, 7th February 2011

I will come to the rural fuel derogation in the second part of my comments, but in relation to the Stornoway Gazette, I am sure that there are many other such campaigns. My hon. Friend's point reflects what I have just said-this is an issue of extreme concern in many parts of the country.

I was explaining that The Courier reported that the Chancellor had suggested that the Government were looking into a fuel duty stabiliser. I was about to say "so far, so good", but unfortunately the next paragraph of the newspaper's front page read:

"The Treasury later played down any suggestion that the Chancellor was announcing any intention to scrap the rise".

The Government's position is clear as mud.

Although the scrapping of a single rise would be extremely welcome, it is not what is fundamentally needed. We need a permanent fuel duty regulator and a stabiliser mechanism that is always in place to smooth out spikes when prices rise at the pump. It is not that the Government do not know that that is needed, because in the very same article, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills is quoted as saying, I believe at a Press Gallery lunch:

"It is quite likely that we are going to get a nasty period of high fuel prices."

I say to him that we are not going to get that; we already have a nasty period of very high fuel prices.

In January, diesel in Stornoway was £1.42 a litre-that is almost £6.50 a gallon. In Aviemore, in the Chief Secretary's constituency, the price was £1.38 a litre, which is nearly £6.30 a gallon.