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[Un-allotted Half Day] — Fuel Costs

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 7th February 2011.

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Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy Labour, Torfaen 6:00 pm, 7th February 2011

I welcome the debate, and Stewart Hosie made a powerful speech. It is relevant that it arises on a Supply day motion from the Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru, because the issue is also of particular concern to Northern Ireland, and Naomi Long is in her place. All devolved Administrations have a voice to raise and a point to make about the fuel increases in their countries. Hon. Members will know that a joint ministerial Committee meeting took place last week in London, when the First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland jointly asked the Government to ensure that there would be no increase in fuel prices in the Budget in April. I hope that that will be the case.

I share the concerns of my hon. Friend Kerry McCarthy about some of the detail of the derogation for rural areas. I support the idea of a pilot, but it should include at least one part of Wales, and to confine it to islands would make such a study rather artificial. I appreciate that there are particular problems in rural parts of the United Kingdom and it is important to consider that, but confining the pilot to islands would be a mistake.