rural fuel discount
In a parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall today, Rory pressed Ministers to extend the rural fuel discount (currently limited to the Scottish Islands) to include Cumbria. Speaking in a debate on the increasing fuel costs, Rory spoke for thousands of constituents when he argued the case for measures to be taken to halt the increase in fuel duty in rural areas, in recognition of the extreme challenges of sparsity and distance.
He said: “Whilst I applaud the Chancellor’s steps to date, these measures need to be extended. Government must acknowledge that in some constituencies, such as Penrith and the Border, we are expected to travel twice the distance to access vital services, and this needs to be recognised. A rural fuel pilot here in Cumbria would be a very good start.”
Rory has argued that rising fuel costs 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.
Rory is extremely concerned about the negative impact of rising fuel costs on household incomes, small business owners, and the farming community, where production and processing costs are rising as farmers struggle to absorb the rapid rise in costs.