CHRIS Hazzard, South Down Sinn Féin MLA, has said that transferring fuel duty powers to the Executive and adopting a policy in keeping with the local economy could save the North millions of pounds a year that could be put towards a fuel duty reduction.
Mr Hazzard added: “There is an estimated loss of revenue of between £150-£260million to the Executive because of the two different fuel duty regimes on the island of Ireland according to revenue and customs.
“Fuel duty raises approximately £1billion a year in the North which goes directly to the British Treasury. Transferring fuel duty powers to the Executive would bring the ability to vary the levy rather than have it imposed on us from Whitehall.
“Some estimates put the initial cost of reducing fuel duty by one pence to be £17.5million. This makes it clear that if the Executive had powers to set fuel levies we could set the level at a competitive rate with that in the South and thereby eliminate the differential along the border and actually increase revenue.
“It would also assist in tackling fuel smuggling and laundering. We could make the policy relevant to the North, which revenue mandarins in Britain can’t do. Lower fuel prices would mean lower transport costs which would have a knock-on effect on retail prices for goods and services and help thousands of commuters and families across the North.”