rory calls for rural fuel discount

Rory yesterday in Parliament raised the concerns of many constituents about the impact that rising fuel prices are having on the cost of living and working in Penrith and the Border.

In a speech in yesterday’s Backbench Committee debate in the House of Commons, Rory made a plea for the 5p rural fuel discount to be applied immediately to Cumbria – extended from the Highlands and Islands, where it is already being piloted. Rory’s speech in yesterday’s debate follows his support for the Fair Fuel UK campaign when in June 2011 he spoke on behalf of constituents requesting a halt in fuel increase and attended the backbench business committee to push for a full debate in the chamber .

Rory also called for a re-think of the government’s policy on smart meters, devices which record domestic energy consumption in real time. Smart meters could give consumers much greater control of their energy use, helping them to cope better with rising fuel prices.

Yesterday Rory spoke once again on behalf of Cumbrians, and said: “Rural isolation is not just an issue of sparse population; it is about a hollowing-out of communities…. the loss of schools, clinics, and police stations. The loss of petrol pumps and other key services is incredibly important too. Our schoolchildren travel further and further to school, and we are required to travel ever further to access our most basic services. The solution to rural problems is not to move away; rural communities are our lifeblood. Please extend the 5p fuel rebate to Cumbria as quickly as possible.”

The House of Commons back-bench motion calling on the government to address fuel prices was carried unanimously.

Rory added: “High fuel prices have a disproportionate impact on rural areas. Poor access to key services defines Cumbria – and particularly Eden – as having high incidences of rural deprivation. The average distance to travel to a local GP surgery is 3km in Cumbria, as opposed to an English average of 1.4km. In Eden, the distance is even greater, with residents travelling an average of 5.5km to visit their doctor. Cumbrians are expected to drive on average 11km to their nearest Job Centre, or 17km in Eden.”

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