Almost 1,500 fuel retailers in 36 counties and districts in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are being consulted by the government on how much they charge for petrol and diesel, HM Treasury announced today.
These fuel retailers are being asked to supply pump price data and verifiable records for the fourth quarter of 2012.
The consultation with fuel retailers is taking place in remote areas of the UK because the government plans extend the island fuel rebate scheme to further remote rural areas with higher fuel costs and is required to seek permission from the European Commission, according to Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
An application is expected to be submitted to the Commission and other Member States this autumn. The data collected from fuel retailers will expand the government’s evidence base to support the expansion of the fuel rebate to rural communities in other areas of the UK with similar cost characteristics to the islands in the current scheme.
Under the current rebate scheme, retailers of road fuel within the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the Islands of the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly can register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to claim back relief of five pence per litre (ppl) on unleaded petrol and diesel purchased on or after 1 January 2012 for onward retail sale. These fuel retailers can make claims on a monthly basis and have 60 days following registration to reduce the cost of every litre of road fuel sold by the equivalent amount of the relief claimed.
Alexander commented: “The island fuel rebate provides much needed help to keep down fuel prices in areas where costs of transporting fuel mean prices are much higher. I know that there are other remote rural areas of the UK with similarly high fuel costs.
“So we are today starting to gather further evidence that will form part of an application to the Commission to extend the island fuel duty discount scheme to very remote rural areas.
“We will need to prove that there are areas which are similar to the islands in terms of pump prices and distribution costs, so I would urge local areas that may qualify to provide the information we need to make the case as robust as possible.”