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Amendment of the Law

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:43 pm on 23rd March 2011.

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Photo of Sammy Wilson Sammy Wilson Shadow Spokesperson (Education), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Treasury) 2:43 pm, 23rd March 2011

I find it strange that the hon. Gentleman should want to apologise for the Irish Republic, which is in direct competition with the economy of the area that he represents, but we will leave it to his constituents to question him about that.

The Chancellor has made much of the fuel duty escalator. Northern Ireland does not have the highest fuel prices in the United Kingdom, but it certainly has the second highest, and we also have the problem of the border with the Irish Republic. I would have hoped that the Chancellor would come through on the promise that he made when he was in opposition. We have a promise that future price increases will be deferred, but the impact on current prices will be very slight. That leaves Northern Ireland, with its high dependence on road transport for its manufactured goods and its dispersed rural nature, at a disadvantage.

I acknowledge that the Government have responded to some developments recently. I look forward to seeing the outcome of the aggregates levy and the allowance that has been made. I welcome the fact that the loan facility for the Presbyterian Mutual Society has been built into the Budget. In his concluding remarks, the Chancellor said that he would put the fuel in the tank of the British economy so that it could drive forward. I may be about to show my age, but I hope that it is a tiger in the tank so that we finish up with a tiger economy. I fear that we are going to run out of fuel very quickly, and we will all be poorer for it.