So the Liberal Conservative coalition is going to start pilot programmes to look at how fuel prices in rural areas can be cut when the oil price is high. It’s a step towards a workable scheme that was promised in the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

As George Lyon MEP says:

“This is an important first step in our fight for fairer fuel prices in rural Scotland.

“Successive Labour and Conservative Governments have blocked Liberal Democrat attempts to secure a fuel duty reduction in areas where driving is a necessity, not a luxury.

“Now with Liberal Democrats in Government we have a chance to deliver on what other parties have refused to even consider.

“I will work with Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander MP to make sure pilot schemes are introduced in Scotland so we can begin to lift the serious financial burden of sky-high fuel prices.”

The price differential from the national average can be as much as 15p a litre in some of our worst hit rural areas and the option of public transport is largely non-existent or at best infrequent to residents in such areas.

It shows the changes that Liberal Democrats are bringing to the new Government and follows on from the debate Alistair Carmichael secured on 10 February this year where there was far reaching issues raised from many voices and areas heard from, though none from the SNP. In that debate Alistair said:

“I bring that answer* to hon. Members’ attention because it is important for us to understand that the problems that are faced by our communities are not unique; they are shared by different communities in the European Union. However, they get very different treatment from their Governments than that which we have experienced.

“I have asked Ministers in the past to consider such a derogation, and I make the same request of the Minister today. Will she consider setting up a pilot scheme to assess whether the Government’s concerns are legitimate, real and substantial-I suspect that they are not-or whether they are just an excuse for continuing to do nothing?”

So Lib Dems are delivering on things they have asked for under Labour through working with the Conservatives. Who’d have thought it?

Obviously not James Macintyre at the New Statesman who thought that Labour had a good working relationship with the Liberal Democrats down the years. Here is one example of the reverse. An example of where talking the talk isn’t enough, Labour failed to learn to walk the walk. That is why the people have turned against them action is what the people want.

* One received from George Lyon on 8 January from the EU Commission (excuse the civil service speak):

“The Commission can, nevertheless, confirm that-on a different basis-in order to partially offset the additional costs of insularity – and thus geographical remoteness and difficulties of supply, France was authorised to apply a reduced rate of taxation to unleaded petrol used as motor fuel and consumed in the Corsican department. Moreover, at the moment of the adoption of Council Directive 2003/96/EC4-and for similar reasons as France-Portugal and Greece were authorised to apply reduced rates of taxation for fuel consumed in the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira and on some Greek islands. Concerning the details of the schemes, the Commission can inform the Honourable Member that in the case of Corsica, the reduction is 1 cent per litre. In the case of the Greek islands, the reduction can be up to 2.2 cents per litre. In the case of Azores and Madeira, the directive does not specify the amount of the tax reduction, however, according to the information available to the Commission, the degree of tax differentiations from the Portuguese mainland is 1.5 cents per litre (Madeira) and 3.8 cents per litre in the case of the island of Azores.”

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