Scottish finance secretary tackles Chancellor over fuel duty
By: Deborah Bates
17 January 2011
John Swinney, the finance secretary for Scotland, has written a letter to Chancellor George Osborne, voicing his concerns over the rising cost of fuel.
In his letter, Swinney urged Osborne to create a fuel duty regulator, which would benefit those in logistics work by reducing the duty in accordance with heightened oil prices. He believes the government can expect to collect £12 billion in oil revenues throughout 2011, which could cover the proposed relief.
Swinney's worry and concern were evident in his words, which were published by BBC News: "With a further rise in duty scheduled for April, Westminster must take urgent action to tackle this."
"Coupled with the UK government's recent VAT rise, these record fuel costs are putting a huge and unnecessary amount of pressure on our communities and on vital sectors of the Scottish economy, and risk choking the recovery we are building in Scotland."
In response to Swinney's advice, which added: "The Chancellor has the resource to bring the relief motorists and local economies desperately need," the Treasury's chief secretary made comment on the BBC's Politics Show.
"We recognise that for many families this is a serious issue," said Danny Alexander, cited in the Scotsman. "We are seeking to address that problem by looking at this idea of a fair fuel stabiliser, by taking steps to relieve the burden of fuel costs in the most remote communities."
However not everyone is convinced by the government's stalling tactics, with the SNP's Angus Robertson claiming: "At the last UK general election, the Tories and Lib Dems promised action on sky-high fuel taxes but have failed to deliver. If it were ever needed most it is now, but those plans appear to have been forgotten. Businesses cannot afford to be kept hanging on."
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