Many Scottish areas have been granted a 5p fuel duty rebate (Photo: Reuters)
Many Scottish areas have been granted a 5p fuel duty rebate (Photo: Reuters)

The British government has slashed fuel duty for motorists in 10 remote or rural areas by 5p as the Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander said that "driving [in these regions] is not a choice but a necessity."

While three communities in England and seven in Scotland have been judged to meet the strict criteria to qualify for a fuel duty rebate, the European Commission still has to approve this move to make sure it does not breach EU competition laws.

The final decision is expected to be reached in within the next six months.

'It's something that for people in these communities will make a real difference,' said Alexander.

'[The media] has rightly highlighted the fact that fuel costs matter to everybody, but particularly to those in rural communities where a car is a necessity not a luxury.'

According to the AA, average petrol prices in the UK fell 5.49p a litre to 132.16p between mid-September and mid-October.


Eight regions that received the fuel duty rebate belong to a Liberal Democrat constiuency.
These consist of five areas in Scotland that are in Charles Kennedy's domain, another two others in Scotland belong to Alexander, while the last area is led by Sir Nick Harvey in Lytton, Devon.

Kirkby-in-Furness, led by Labour, has received a rebate while a Conservative-led Hawes recieved the 5p axe in fuel duty as well.
However, Labour's Shadow Economic Secretary, Catherine McKinnell, has asked the government to 'reassure' the public that other regions will get the same treatment, even if their MP may not be Conservative or Liberal Democrat.

"I hope this announcement will mean some relief for drivers in these areas - although even for this small number of communities there's no guarantee of any help with the cost of living crisis any time soon," said McKinnell.

"8 out of 10 of these areas have Liberal Democrat MPs - including two in (Chief Secretary to the Treasury) Danny Alexander's own constituency.

"The public will want to be reassured this is no more than a coincidence because nobody will thank a Lib Dem Treasury Minister who refuses to tackle the cost of living crisis everywhere but his own back yard."

However, Alexander dismissed any claims of favouritism and insisted that the areas qualified because they are similar to the islands eligible for the existing discount.