Greens: SNP's fuel duty debate misses the point

For immediate release 2 March 2011

Greens will today vote against SNP proposals on fuel duty, which take no account of the impact of rising oil prices on petrol costs, fail to consider the costs to society and to individuals of policies which build dependence on the car, and which offer no long-term solutions.

The International Energy Agency's Chief Economist today confirmed that "expensive oil is here to stay", as current oil reserves decline both in output and quality: North Sea production has, for example, been in decline since 1999. This depletion guarantees a long-term upward price trend - when the SNP came to power the Brent Crude price was at $67 a barrel, but this week prices have reached nearly $117.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"It's dishonest of the SNP to pretend that a tweak to petrol taxes is a decent response to the inexorable rise in oil prices. Taking a few pence off petrol now just delays the inevitable, perhaps by as little as a month. Rural communities in particular are trapped by inadequate bus and rail services, while SNP Ministers continue to divert ever more money from public transport into unnecessary motorway projects.

"This is just shameless electioneering, a misleading and superficial stunt masquerading as a solution. The SNP need to start looking at the long term, not just the next two months. That would mean a serious commitment to public transport, an end to the 1960s obsession with motorway-building, support for home-working, and investment in sufficient renewables to allow us to decarbonise private transport too."