CEREDIGION MP Ben Lake has met with the Treasury Minister in a bid to lower fuel prices in rural Wales.
In a meeting in Westminster this week, Plaid Cymru’s Treasury spokesperson Ben Lake MP urged the UK Government to extend the Rural Fuel Duty Relief scheme to Wales to address rocketing fuel costs in rural areas.
The Ceredigion MP secured the meeting after raising the issue at PMQs on 25 May. Mr Lake urged the Prime Minister to extend the scheme – currently only available to rural areas of England and Scotland – to rural areas of Wales.
Under the scheme, fuel duty relief is offered to retailers which is then passed onto consumers through reductions in fuel prices.
Mr Lake told the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Helen Whately, that the scheme must be reconfigured to allow for the inclusion of areas from Wales. Wales continues to have the highest proportion of people travelling to work by car (80%) compared to the regions of England or Scotland. Plaid Cymru have called for the scheme to be reconfigured to take into account levels of investment in public transport infrastructure.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lake said that, given Wales’s poor public transport infrastructure, short term measures must be taken to help households and businesses struggling with higher fuel prices and no feasible alternatives to driving.
Ben Lake MP said: “I was pleased to secure a meeting with the Minister after raising the emergency facing people across my constituency directly with the Prime Minister last month. The case for the extension of the Rural Fuel Relief Scheme to Wales is clear, and I strongly urged the Government to work constructively to help rural communities in this cost-of-living crisis.
“Poor public transport infrastructure sadly means that many of my constituents have few alternatives for essential journeys, and are dependent on using the car. At 80%, Wales continues to have the highest proportion of people travelling to work by car compared to the regions of England or Scotland.
“Rural areas of Wales are currently not supported despite meeting almost all of the criteria. The scheme must be reconfigured to take into account access to local public transport networks, as well as a guarantee of inclusion of Welsh areas within the scheme. I will be writing to the Minister to seek clarity on the rationale for Wales’s exclusion from the scheme and for further exploration of how the criteria can be updated.”