The Liberal Democrats have called on the UK 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.

Petrol pains


How much morerural households are paying intransport costs,according to DEFRA


More is paid in fuelcosts by peopleliving in ruralareas per week than by those living in urban areas £100The cost of filling up a 55-litre petrol car now


Amount of savings if there is anexpansion of the rural fuel relief duty


savings from a cut in Value Added Tax if there is anexpansion of the rural fuel relief duty

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 oer cent to 17.5 per cent. 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.

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds MS said: “People in rural communities are bearing the brunt of these devastating fuel price hikes, yet the UK Conservative government is refusing to lift a finger to help.

“It shows yet again how families in the countryside are being taken for granted by Boris Johnson and the Conservatives.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have repeatedly called on the UK Government to extend rural fuel duty relief and crack down on the petrol profiteers who are cashing in on people’s misery at the pump. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”