RISING fuel costs are “causing serious problems” for key workers in Ceredigion, the county’s MP has said in the House of Commons as he called on Boris Johnson to support carers and district nurses by extending a scheme to lower the price of petrol.
At Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, 25 May, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion Ben Lake called on the Prime Minister “to support key workers who are struggling with rocketing fuel costs.”
He called for the Rural Fuel Duty Relief scheme to be extended to Wales in order to help workers in rural areas.
The scheme allows retailers to claim duty relief on unleaded petrol and diesel, and pass on the savings to customers.
It currently covers 17 rural areas of England and Scotland, including parts of the Highlands, Argyll and Bute, Northumberland, Cumbria, Devon and North Yorkshire.
However, currently no areas of Wales are eligible for the scheme.
Mr Lake referred to a constituent who often has to travel 29 miles just to reach her first service user of the day and travels about 1,700 miles each month.
Many home care workers are not paid for their travel time.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ben Lake said: “Rising fuel costs are causing serious problems for workers in car-dependent rural areas such as Ceredigion, and for carers and district nurses the situation has reached a crisis point.
“One carer from Ceredigion often has to travel 29 miles just to reach her first service user of the day and travels about 1,700 miles each month.
“Will the Prime Minister therefore consider extending the rural fuel duty relief scheme to areas such as Ceredigion to help my constituent and many like her to continue their invaluable work?”
Boris Johnson replied: “I thank the honorable Member for his excellent question.
“Rural fuel duty relief is there to compensate motorists by helping retailers in some more remote rural areas where pump prices can be significantly higher.
“It currently operates on a geographical basis, but I am happy to ensure that he gets a meeting with the relevant Minister as fast as possible.”
Cefin Campbell MS, Plaid Cymru Senedd Member for Mid & West Wales, has also supported calls for the UK Government to extend the rural fuel duty relief scheme to Wales.
“Starved of public transport investment, Mid and West Wales is amongst one of the most car dependent areas in the UK, and residents are already feeling the pinch at the pump from surging fuel prices,” he said.
“With fuel prices ballooning, I have no doubt the UK Government should look to consider short-term measures, such as extending the Rural Fuel Duty Relief Scheme to ensure at least some level of support to rural residents at this challenging time.”
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