Part of rural Northumberland has moved a step closer to getting a fuel price cut of up to 5p per litre.
It comes after the Government’s Rural Fuel Rebate scheme cleared the major hurdle of European Commission approval today.
Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, spearheaded the Government’s application to the EC for 17 of the most rural areas in mainland UK to receive a discount of up to five pence per litre fuel duty last year.
The scheme will allow 125,000 people living the selected areas, who currently face some of the highest fuel prices in the country despite depending on cars for transport, to benefit from cheaper fuel. The UK’s most rural islands already receive this discount, but it will be the first time that the Commission has approved a fuel discount on the UK mainland.
Among the affected postcode areas is NE48 in Northumberland, which includes Ridsdale and Kielder.
Commission approval means that the issue is now awaiting agreement from other Member States through the Council of the European Union.
The Government is pressing ahead with a formal consultation on the regulations necessary to implement the change today, with a view to implementing it in the current Parliament.
Mr Alexander said: “This is great news for motorists in these areas and brings a duty discount a step closer.
“Even though fuel prices are falling across the country, they are still higher in very rural areas. As someone who comes from one of the most rural areas in the UK, I know that for people who live in these areas cars are a necessity, not a luxury. I’ve fought hard to reach this major milestone.
“While we have one more stage to go, I want to make sure we are ready to implement this as a top priority so we will press for this to be heard as soon as possible and are today publishing the necessary draft regulations.
“I’m determined to implement the Rural Fuel Rebate in the current Parliament as part of this Government’s drive for a stronger economy and fairer society.”
The current rural fuel rebate scheme came into effect in March 2012 and allows retailers of road fuel within the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the Islands of the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly to register with HM Revenue & Customs to claim back a five pence per litre relief on unleaded petrol and diesel for retail sale within the eligible areas.