Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 10:42 UK

Concerns at rising costs on isles

A fuel pump
Diesel and petrol costs on the islands have increased

The costs of diesel and agricultural supplies on the isles have increased at alarming rates, according to an MP and Scottish Crofting Foundation.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil said the latest rise in fuel prices meant diesel was costing more than 1.30 a litre.

High oil prices and increasing grain production for bio fuel has been blamed for pushing up costs of animal feed and fertilizer to more than double.

Foundation chairman Neil MacLeod said crofters would have to grow their own.

He said: "It is having a frightening effect.

"We certainly cannot afford those costs. We will have to make as much feed as we can whether that be corn, barley or silage."

'Worried calls'

Nationalist Mr MacNeil has urged the Treasury to act to reduce the cost of fuel.

He said: "People are utterly exasperated with the price of fuel.

"Diesel at 1.31 and petrol not far behind is choking the Western Isles economy.

"In the Republic of Ireland the cost of fuel is 97p per litre, but a little further north in our islands and it costs more than 21 extra to fill up the tank.

"No wonder businesses in the islands are giving me worried phone calls."


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