Wednesday, 2 March 2011


For Immediate Use 2nd March 2011

Highlands and Islands SNP MSP, Rob Gibson, has today raised concerns over the future of rural petrol stations during a parliamentary debate this afternoon.

Mr Gibson - who has been approached by a number of constituents who are angry over the price of fuel - has pointed out that Lib Dem inaction on fuel duty could lead to the closure of small, rural petrol stations. Mr Gibson believes that fuel duty prevents independent garages from competing with larger supermarkets who can afford to pay duty.

One in three independent petrol stations have closed in the past 10 years.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Gibson said:

“Spiralling fuel costs affect us all, however I’m not sure that Lib Dem ministers in London actually realise the full consequences of their petrol price procrastination.

“I have been approached by Alistair Nicolson, who runs Pittentrail Garage in Rogart, who has told me that unless we see action from the UK Government to support small stations, businesses like his will disappear. He warns me that soon it may not be economically viable to run an independent petrol station in the Highlands, and I tend to agree.

“For folk like Alistair, the Lib Dem’s inaction on fuel duty is getting to be very worrying indeed. It is the fuel side of his business that is currently struggling, so we need to see action to lighten the load for these small garages.

“Petrol station owners like Alistair face losing their livelihoods and drivers in remote areas – where cars a necessity, not a luxury - will lose an essential service.

“This is yet another practical example of how fiscal autonomy and control of our own taxation could have a tangible and positive impact on our rural communities. And I urge Lib Dem ministers to deliver on their fuel pledge without delay, for the sake of businesses like Alistair’s.”


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