East Lothian Courier – 17 March 2022


Every time you pass a petrol station seems to have risen. Some posts online show staggering prices and at stations not far from here. When fuel costs increase it’s not just a problem for those who require driving to get to work or need it for where they live. It also affects the price of almost everything, as transport costs rise and require to be passed on. Food and other essential items are already going up and this will simply push them higher.

Its why I’ve supported the Road Haulage Associations call for support for the sector, as there needs to be a fuel subsidy for critical parts of the industry. This is about helping all of us, not just hard-pressed truckers.

Current efforts by both UK and Scottish Governments to address the energy crisis as prices rocket and bills are arriving are proving entirely inadequate. That was confirmed last week when I asked parliamentary questions about the anticipated level of VAT revenue from domestic fuel rises. Now although it’s only set at 5% you’d have thought with prices doubling, tripling or more that VAT revenues from them would rise accordingly.

But no. After much wriggling and squirming Treasury admitted they anticipated revenue would be decreasing. Now disingenuous comments from the Department of Energy suggested a variety of factors such as improved insulation. But new homes can’t make that much of a difference, welcome as they may be.

As the Treasury themselves said, when energy prices rise, consumption drops. These rises are huge but still overall revenue’s dropping. That can only mean that folk are switching off. That’s manageable for some but impossible for many. They need to keep warm, wash the kids clothes or even just charge a phone.

Standing charges must be abolished or at minimum greatly reduced. For many on pre-payment meters, who are invariably the poorest and most vulnerable, even if they switch off to save money the tariff is ticking and at a rate they struggle to meet. Its also why we need a social tariff offering reduced costs to those who need it most.