- Rural fuel duty relief scheme should be doubled to 10p a litre and expanded to cover more areas
- Households in rural areas paying £2,000 a year more on transport costs than those in urban areas
The Liberal Democrats have called on the government to cut fuel duty in rural areas to help families bearing the brunt of record petrol prices.
It comes as analysis of official figures by the party reveals that households in rural areas pay £114 a week on transport costs, almost £40 more than those in urban areas. It means that rural households are shelling out almost £2,000 more a year on transport than those in urban areas.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for an expansion of the rural fuel duty relief scheme, which is currently only offered in a handful of remote areas of the UK. Only 10,500 residents in England currently live in communities benefiting from the relief, which include the Isles of Scilly and three other postcode areas.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for rural fuel duty relief to be doubled to 10p a litre, and for it to be significantly expanded to cover other rural areas where public transport options are limited and drivers are being disproportionately hit by rising fuel prices. This would include Devon, Cornwall, Cumbria, Shropshire and Wales.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats are demanding an emergency cut to VAT from 20% to 17.5%. Combined these measures would save a typical driver in rural areas £7.60 each time they fill up their car, or almost £200 a year for those who fill up their car twice a month.
Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Tim Farron said: “People in rural communities are bearing the brunt of devastating fuel price hikes, yet the Conservative government is refusing to lift a finger to help.
“Instead ministers have overseen a steady decline in rural bus services that has left people even more dependent on their cars to get around.
“It shows yet again how families in the countryside are being taken for granted by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.
“The government must act now to help rural families on the brink, by expanding the fuel duty relief scheme. Ministers need to also crack down on the petrol profiteers who are cashing in on people’s misery at the pump.”