My right hon. Friend the Chancellor confirmed in the 2013 autumn statement that fuel duty will be frozen for the remainder of this Parliament. As a result of this Government’s actions, average pump prices are now 13p per litre lower than if the Government had implemented the previous Government’s fuel duty escalator and it will be 20p per litre lower by the end of this Parliament.
Does my hon. Friend agree that it is only because of the difficult decisions that the Government have taken on deficit reduction that they have been able to provide this action on fuel duty? Does she further agree that if these difficult decisions on spending had not been taken, not only would it have been impossible to help motorists, it would have put at risk the economic recovery?
My hon. Friend is entirely right. We all know of many businesses across our constituencies, as well as households, who rely on their vehicles—their lorries and vans—to get about. By 2015, the average motorist will be saving £680 a year and the average small business with a van will be saving £1,300 a year in their fuel costs.
Will the Minister explain to my rural constituents in a low-wage economy area why of the 10 areas where the Chief Secretary has endeavoured to get a special rural fuel discount scheme into place, eight are in Lib Dem constituencies and two are in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency? Is that some kind of coincidence?
On that latter point, I commend the Government for listening in a way that the Labour party never did and I commend the scheme, but may I draw to my hon. Friend’s attention one anomaly, namely the petrol pump at Bettyhill? It meets all the criteria of the others, but because of an anomaly in postcodes will not be included. Is there anything at all that can be done to help that one station?