Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil, and MSP, Alasdair Allan, have backed calls for the UK Government to freeze duty on fuel in the 2016 Budget, due to be published on Wednesday.

This follows warning signs that Chancellor George Osborne is considering upping the tax on petrol in an attempt to fill the black hole in his Budget. Tax currently makes up 70% of the total price of a tank of petrol or diesel.

Angus MacNeil MP commented:

“A rise in fuel duty would hit motorists in Na h-Eileanan an Iar more than anywhere else. We already face higher fuel prices than other part of the UK and any price hike would put additional pressure on households, businesses and in particular the haulage industry. The Chancellor should maintain a freeze on fuel duty to help stimulate the economy and not punish motorists in an effort to balance the books.”

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“For decades the UK Government has raked in huge sums of money from taxes at the pump without doing anything significant to address the structural problem of high fuel prices in rural and island communities.

“With household incomes across the Western Isles still struggling this is completely the wrong time for the UK Government to be considering a rise in fuel duty.

“The absence of public transport options and challenging geography in the islands leave us far more reliant on cars than most other places to get about our day to day business. A fuel duty rise would be a far bigger blow to the islands than anywhere else. I hope the Chancellor will categorically rule out any rise in fuel duty in this year’s budget.”