Wales politics

Petrol duty cut of 5p proposed for Welsh countryside

Diesel pump
Image caption The UK government has applied to the European Commission for the power to cut the duty by 5p a litre.

The Wales Office has asked the Treasury to cut the cost of petrol by up to 5p a litre in rural Wales.

Minister David Jones said he asked for a proposed fuel duty rebate scheme to be extended to the Welsh countryside.

The UK government has applied to the European Commission for the power to cut the duty by 5p a litre.

In the Commons, Mr Jones said he had written to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, asking for rural Wales to be included in the cut.

The proposed cut would apply in Highland communities, the Northern Isles, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Islands of the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly.

Mr Jones told MPs he had already written to Mr Alexander "to press for the extension of this pilot to rural areas of Wales".

He said the price of fuel is "a pressing issue in large parts of rural Wales".

Liberal Democrat MP Mark Williams asked for the scheme to be extended to rural Wales, and Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain pressed for a VAT rise on fuel to be reversed.

Later during prime miniter's questions, David Cameron defended the level of public spending in Wales.

He said the UK government would launch an inquiry into the way Wales is funded, similar to the Calman Commission, which recommended further powers over tax be devolved to Scotland.

"We are looking at a Calman-like process for Wales. We think that is right and we will bring forward some announcements and proposals about that," he added.

"But let me just say this, because the spending reductions in Wales are less than the spending reductions in England what we will find at the end of this parliament is that the difference in spending per head in Wales will be even greater than it is today.

'Aggravating effect'

"So I don't accept the contention that somehow people in Wales are being unfairly targeted with cuts - they're not.

"They are getting a better deal than some other parts of the United Kingdom."

A Wales Office spokesman said: "Minister David Jones has been leading a Wales Office rural affairs task force into studying the particular economic needs of rural Wales.

"The task force recognised concerns that the price of fuel and the aggravating effect of fuel duty is being felt most acutely by those rural communities in Wales.

"As a result, the minister has written to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander to request that a pilot scheme to deliver discounted fuel in designated remote areas of Scotland be extended to include the possibility of a scheme in Wales."

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