FABIANI OUTRAGED AS RISING FUEL DUTY AFFECTING EMERGENCY SERVICES

Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride, has welcomed news that more than half of the value of North Sea oil and gas reserves is yet to be extracted – representing an asset with a potential wholesale value of a trillion pounds.

This comes at a time when it has emerged that emergency services have seen their fuel bills rise massively, just as households across Scotland have seen their disposable income eaten up by rocketing domestic fuel and travel costs.

Ms Fabiani has backed the First Minister who is urging the UK Chancellor to deliver long-term stability by working with the industry on options for reform of the tax regime, following the Chancellor’s unexpected and damaging announcement in last year’s Budget of a hike in the supplementary charge paid by North Sea operators.

Linda said “It is nothing short of scandalous that emergency services, as well as households, are struggling to pay for soaring costs of fuel at a time when there is still a trillion pounds worth of oil and gas remaining in Scotland’s share of the North Sea.

“This is not what the people of Scotland want yet the Westminster Government is refusing to act on this and are even making it worse by imposing an additional fuel duty rise.

“Record fuel prices are damaging to our emergency services – as these new figures clearly show.

“That is why the Chancellor must rethink his position on implementing his hike in fuel duty, which will only add to the pressures these emergency services are under.”

The cost of fuel for fire brigades more than doubled between 2002 and 2009, while police forces are expected to spend an estimated £7,885,000 this year on fuel in comparison with £4,810,000 in 2002-03.

The figures also show the amount of duty paid by fire brigades to the Treasury in 2009 was over £953,000 in comparison to over £563,720 – an increase of 69 per cent.

Police forces are estimated to pay over £3.4million to the UK Exchequer this financial year in comparison to £2.2million paid in 2003 – an increase of 53%.

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