Angus MP Mike Weir has called for urgent action on the price of fuel in rural areas.
Speaking in a debate which had been called by the SNP in the Commons he pressed the Treasury to introduce a fuel duty regulator to prevent the current spikes in fuel costs.
Mr Weir pointed out the huge damage being done to the local economy in Angus by the spiralling costs of fuel and the lack of any real alternatives to road transport.
“We have pushed for a fuel duty stabiliser to give certainty about the price, to allow hauliers, for example, to be able to quote in advance for a contract and know what the fuel prices are going to be.
“This will also allow people to look at their family budgets and know what they have to spend to get to work on a weekly or monthly basis. We need to remember that our constituents are not getting pay rises-in some cases, they are getting pay cuts-so they cannot cope with these rising prices, which impact directly on family budgets.
“For all those reasons, we need action now. It is all very well to talk about the problem and to look at the practicalities, but if this drags on into next year, I am afraid that many businesses will fail to survive.”
Mr Weir added that whilst it was vital to reduce emissions real alternatives needed to be in place rather than simply pushing up the price of fuel.
Speaking after the debate Mr Weir said that whilst the present government were making sympathetic noises there was little real action.
“It seems clear from the Minister’s speech that the Tories are abandoning the idea of a fuel duty stabiliser. They appear to be focusing on a remote areas fuel duty derogation, but very little action has been taken in pushing it forward and, in any event, is unlikely to help Angus.
“Ministers seem unable or unwilling to grasp the point that unless this issue is tackled real and long term damage will be done to the rural economy and to local families.”