South Down MP Margaret Ritchie (SDLP) has backed the UK government’s decision to consider extending the fuel discount scheme to parts of Northern Ireland. The existing scheme established last year gives motorists in the Scottish isles and the Isles of Scilly a discount of up to 5p per litre to allow for additional pump and distribution costs in those areas.
Ms Ritchie said: “Road users have been confronted with spiralling costs for fuel and insurance for a number of years, particularly in rural areas. I therefore welcome this move and I am glad to see that Banbridge, Down and Newry and Mourne are on the list of areas that will be under consideration.
“The existing rebate scheme for the Scottish Islands takes into account the increased cost of transporting fuel to remote areas and it is only correct that this should be extended to remote rural inland areas.
“Rural road users not only have increased fuel costs but are faced with much less access to public transport and are therefore more reliant on their own vehicles.
“Extending the fuel discount to areas such as South Down would bring enormous benefits to road users and the wider rural economy. I would call on the government to carry out this review as soon as possible in order to introduce this much needed measure,” added Ms Ritchie.