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Liberal Democrats to expand Rural Fuel Duty Relief to cut petrol prices for drivers in countryside

THE LIBERAL Democrats have announced plans to support motorists in rural areas by doubling the scope of Rural Fuel Duty Relief scheme, saving drivers in these areas 5p a litre at the pump.

Rural Fuel Duty Relief helps to bring costs down for drivers in rural areas, who previous research has found spend an average of £800 more on fuel costs a year than those in urban ones. The scheme is currently applied to just 21 areas across the country, including the Isles of Scilly, three postcode districts in England, and the Highlands and Orkney and Shetland in Scotland.

Fuel retailers in these areas can apply for relief of 5p per litre of petrol or diesel, which is then passed on to consumers through reductions in price at the pump. 

The scheme currently does not apply to a single area of Wales despite the extremely rural nature of much of the country. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Conservatives to change this for the last 15 years with former Ceredigion MP Mark Williams having run a long campaign on the issue during his previous terms in Westminster.

The party has proposed a consultation to determine the areas which could receive the new Relief, with the Party having identified Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Powys, Carmarthenshire and Gwynedd as areas that could benefit.

The Liberal Democrats have also committed to introducing a Pumpwatch scheme, to allow drivers to directly compare fuel prices and protect them from rip-off prices. A similar scheme already exists in Northern Ireland, which has the lowest fuel prices in the UK. The government has previously pledged to introduce a Pumpwatch scheme, but failed to deliver on that promise before the end of the Parliament. 

Liberal Democrat Candidate for Ceredigion Preseli Mark Williams said: “People in rural areas have been clobbered by the cost-of-living crisis and the Conservatives have just not done enough to support them. We need a real rescue plan to support rural communities struggling with outrageous pump prices. 

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have been calling on the Conservatives to include rural Wales in the rural fuel duty relief for years, but Welsh Conservative MPs have always failed to listen to the needs of their constituents.

“Liberal Democrats are standing up for our rural communities after years of Conservative chaos and neglect. Every vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for a strong local champion who will fight for the fair deal you deserve.”

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