Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Monday, 7 February 2011

SNP urges government to set up fuel duty stabiliser

Scottish National Party Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie has warned rising taxes on fuel combined with high oil prices are "decimating" family finances.

Leading an opposition-day debate on 7 February 2011, Mr Hosie urged MPs to back a joint SNP-Plaid Cymru Commons motion condemning the government for "dithering" over setting up a fuel duty stabiliser, which would smooth out some of the spikes in the cost of filling up at the pumps.

The motion also urged progress on talks with Europe to allow a discount in duty for motorists in remote areas who need to use their cars more than urban counterparts and yet face even higher fuel costs.

Mr Hosie said the current cost was "unsustainable, it is inflationary, it is decimating family budgets and it is putting untold pressure on many, many businesses and many business sectors.

"It is having a catastrophic effect in remote and rural areas.

"That is why we are calling on the Tory part of this government to keep their promise to consult on and then deliver quickly a fuel duty stabiliser and that is why we are calling on the Liberal part of this Tory-led government to keep their promise in delivering a fuel duty derogation for remote and rural areas."

Responding to Mr Hosie's arguments, Economic Secretary to the Treasury Justine Greening said: "We have long recognised on this side of the House, both parties in the coalition government, that the price of fuel has been a very difficult issue for motorists, businesses and families up and down the country."

Ms Greening said: "We do want to treat motorists fairly. At the same time we know that we have to act responsibly and ensure that we tackle our record national debt and the financial deficit.

"That is not easy. It is certainly a very difficult balance to strike, I will not hide that from the House."

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