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Cameron hints at rural fuel discount

RURAL Yorkshire could be next in line for a government-backed fuel duty discount, it has emerged.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he wanted proposals for a fuel duty discount for people living in rural Yorkshire to progress "swiftly".

Doing so would help residents struggling with sky-high petrol prices in remote rural communities, Mr Cameron suggested in an article for the Yorkshire Post.

"Work is under way for rural Yorkshire to be made another pilot for the fuel discount, and I hope we will see plans progress swiftly," he wrote on Saturday (7 July).

Residents and businesses in the Highlands and Islands and the Isles of Scilly have been benefitting from a 5p per litre cut in fuel prices since the beginning of March.

But the government has faced calls to extend the scheme to other remote rural areas.

Earlier this year, Cumbrian MP Tim Farron wrote a letter to Chancellor George Osborne, asking him to announce a similar scheme in Cumbria.

The Country Land and Business Association went further, arguing that large remote areas across the entire north of England would benefit from a fuel duty discount.

Rural-based businesses are significantly disadvantaged by being further from road and rail networks," said Douglas Chalmers, CLA North policy and public affairs director.

"Raw materials in, and products out have further to travel, and most people are dependent on private transport. A 5p cut would go a long way to improving their competiveness."

A reduction in fuel duty would also have a direct affect on everyone who lived in rural communities, said Mr Chalmers.

When families really are counting their pennies, living in an area where services and jobs are further away, and there is little public transport, this one change would make a tremendous difference."

Rather than costing the Treasury, a recent report suggested a 2.5p cut in fuel duty would stimulate the economy and create up to 175,000 jobs.

In addition, it would boost GDP by 0.33%, found the study.

The report was conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research for the campaign group FairFuelUK.


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