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[Un-allotted Half Day] — Fuel Costs

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 6:47 pm on 7th February 2011.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 6:47 pm, 7th February 2011

The hon. Gentleman is bringing irrelevancies into this; we are talking about the real problems that rural areas face, and I am sorry that he does not understand that.

There is another problem with cars. John Thurso made the point that many people in rural areas have old vehicles and cannot afford to buy new ones. That brings several problems. Those vehicles are not only less reliable, but use more petrol than modern vehicles do and cost more to maintain and more to run in road tax and other things. People are suffering seriously by having to travel to work by car.

Paul Murphy talked about what the devolved Administrations could do. The devolved Scottish Administration has introduced a business bonus to help with the costs of running small businesses. The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the ending of the Severn bridge toll. There is a huge cost in fuel for transportation, which is really hitting small businesses.

Mr Reid mentioned the green argument, and I would like to address some of the related issues. Strangely enough, I agreed with a lot of what he had to say-I shall surely not make a habit of it!-but it seems to me that there is nothing green about strangling local economies in rural areas. Some say that people can move on to drive electric cars. I would like to see an electric car that would take me around my Angus constituency, never mind Argyll or Caithness and Sutherland, but the range is simply not available.