December 8 2013 Latest news:
Donna-Louise Bishop, Reporter
Friday, October 18, 2013
Drivers living in Norfolk have missed out again after ten rural locations in the UK have been earmarked to receive a five pence per litre cut in fuel duty.
There is some good news for motorists today as they enjoy the biggest fall in fuel prices since 2008 with nearly £4 off the average cost of filling a family car.
Average petrol prices in the UK fell by 5.49p a litre to 132.16p between mid-September and mid-October, said the AA.
This is the biggest monthly fall since prices fell 11.5p in November 2008.
In East Anglia drivers saw petrol prices drop from 137.7p to 132.5p a litre during the same time period - a difference of 5.2p, just below the UK average.
Northern Ireland remains the most expensive for petrol at 132.9p a litre – despite seeing the biggest fall over the past month - and London, Yorkshire and Humberside are jointly the cheapest areas at 131.9p.
In the UK the price of diesel has fallen from 142.50p a litre to 139.12p - down almost 3.4p.
In East Anglia drivers saw diesel prices drop from 142.8p to 139.6p a litre - a difference of 3.2p, also just below the UK average.
Despite a 3.3p per litre reduction since mid September, Scotland remains most expensive for diesel at 140.1p while London is cheapest at 138.6p.
The price falls mean that on average drivers will be saving £2.74p off the cost of refuelling a small petrol car and £3.84p off the bill for a Mondeo-sized petrol vehicle.
A family with two petrol cars will see the monthly fuel bill fall by £10.
The car breakdown company did put a damper on things however, warning that a further dip in prices soon would be unlikely.
(Fuel price data supplied by Experian Catalist)
It comes following an application submitted to the European Commission (EC) to extend the rural fuel rebate scheme for three communities in England and seven in Scotland.
Overseen by chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, the move has yet to be approved by the EC and critics have been quick to point out that eight of the 10 areas to benefit are in constituencies with Liberal Democrat MPs - including two in Mr Alexander’s own seat.
But defending the claims, he said the “strongest possible evidence base” had been put together to “maximise” the places that would receive the fuel subsidy.
A “disappointed” Jon Clemo, chief executive of Norfolk Rural Community Council, said it was frustrating for Norfolk which is all too often branded as an “affluent” area - despite the pockets of deprivation.
“We understand the rational for fuel duty but when people in rural areas don’t have a choice but to use private transport it discriminates against people living in this area,” he said. “And there is no doubt that transport costs are increasing too.”
And although the county had missed out on the 5p cut he explained that ultimately it would not solve the problem overall.
“I think this proposal is welcome in many areas but it is not a long term solution to the challenges we face. Long term we will only see fuel prices continue to rise.”
The areas earmarked to receive the fuel duty cut in England are Hawes, Kirkby-in-Furness and Lynton and in Scotland, Acharacle, Achnasheen, Appin, Carrbridge, Dalwhinnie, Gairloch and Strathpeffer.
All of the towns were judged on strict criteria, including showing pricing characteristics similar to the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles and the Scilly Isles - areas currently eligible for the existing discount.
Criteria also included pump price threshold, cost of transporting fuel and population density.
Towns that have not adequately fulfilled these criteria have not been shortlisted as they are extremely unlikely to receive approval from the EC.
In line with European Union law, the UK now needs to secure approval from the EC and a final decision is expected next year.
If approved this will raise the number of people benefitting from the rural fuel scheme to nearly 120,000.