(2) what plans he has for a pilot scheme for reduced fuel prices in the Highlands and Islands; and when the scheme is planned to start.
The Government have no plans to introduce such a scheme. While the Government recognise the impact of higher fuel prices on those living in island communities in Scotland and in other rural areas across the UK, such prices are set by fuel producers and suppliers as a result of their commercial judgments, driven by market forces. OFT reports have repeatedly shown that markets are functioning properly in rural areas such as north-west Scotland and the Scottish islands, but any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour on the part of fuel sellers can of course be brought to their attention.
The Secretary of State met with the hon. Member for Argyll and Bute (Mr. Reid) at his request to discuss these issues.