Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Members debate: Commending petrol and diesel watch

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan told MSPs the "local competition argument" was "flimsy" when explaining differing fuel prices, during his member's debate entitled "Commending petrol and diesel watch", on 14 December 2011.

He thanked the Greenock Telegraph's petrol and diesel watch feature, which advises motorists on a daily basis of the fuel prices at filling stations throughout Inverclyde and the west of Scotland.

Mr McMillan told MSPs this was established in response to a public outcry at rising fuel prices and also reported disparities of as much as 7p per litre between filling stations in nearby towns.

He said he accepted that the cost in his constituency would not be as expensive as in the Western Isles or some parts of the Highlands.;

However there was still an issue and an "inequity of prices."

He also urged the Chancellor George Osborne not to introduce an additional 3p per litre on fuel next August as planned.

Mr McMillan said this would be a "retrograde step" and would threaten to exacerbate an already challenging economic situation for households and business operations.

He said unemployment figures just released showed 3,500 unemployed in Inverclyde and "higher fuel prices play a part in unemployment figures" because they hinder businesses and also those on the route back in to work.

Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing responded to the debate by saying he wanted to put on record his appreciation to this newspaper for work that it does.

He also said "taxation accounts for 60% of the price you pay at the pump" and that tax was set by the UK government which "does possess the levers to address this."

Mr Ewing concluded he wished he had the powers in this parliament to set this tax and he was sure all parties would "strive to provide a better deal", particularly for Scotland's rural and island communities.

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