As of 7 September 2011, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has received 922 successful applications for the national insurance holiday scheme from new businesses located in Scotland. Of the 396 applications received for the 2010-11 financial year, 386 claimed the national insurance contributions holiday, supporting approximately 1,300 new jobs.
Should not the Minister be lobbying the Chancellor to create a proper strategy for growth for Scottish manufacturing and construction, instead of offering such complacent support for a scheme that has created less than 10% of the jobs that were forecast and that has been described by the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland as badly designed and failing to deliver at a time when the country needs the creation of new jobs?
We will certainly not be taking any lectures on national insurance from Labour, a party that sought to introduce a jobs tax in 2009. [Interruption.] I had the benefit of visiting the hon. Gentleman’s constituency last week, and I would have thought that he welcomed the fact that these jobs that did not exist before and that they have a better chance of becoming permanent with the NIC holiday—[Interruption.]
It seems you are not alone, Mr Speaker.
Job creation is majorly affected by fuel costs. In my constituency in Stornoway fuel is £1.50 a litre and in Uist it is £1.57. A huge component of those prices is the cost of distribution from the refineries. A few months ago, the Secretary of State gave me assurances that he would look into this. Can the Minister update me on any progress that has been made regarding fuel distribution from refineries?
I can update the hon. Gentleman on the progress on receiving the derogation from the EU to allow fuel prices in his constituency and other remote parts to be lower than they currently are. I should have thought that he welcomed this coalition Government’s delivering that commitment.