Murphy to have fuel price talks on eve of Shetland visit

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy will meet business and farming leaders in Orkney tonight to discuss high fuel prices ahead of a ministerial visit to Shetland on Thursday.

He agreed to the meeting following a request from isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

News of Mr Murphy’s visit emerged last week when SIC chief executive David Clark said the Scottish Secretary wanted to discuss key issues affecting the isles.

During his time here he will visit the Moving On project in Quoys, but Mr Clark said he would be raising the issue of fuel prices with the minister.

Mr Carmichael said he hoped the meeting would yield positive results for those who have struggled to deal with fuel prices amongst the highest in the country.

“I am glad the Secretary of State has agreed to discuss this issue which is of enormous concern to all Northern Isles residents,” he said.

“I sincerely hope the minister will engage with the problem and offer a more substantial argument from those which we have previously heard from the Treasury, which are quite frankly laughable.”

Mr Murphy found himself in hot water recently when it was reported that island communities in Argyll and Bute would benefit from a pilot scheme to make fuel more affordable.

There was outrage locally as it emerged Shetland would not be included in the scheme, although Mr Murphy later denied saying the pilot project would take place at all.

Mr Carmichael said there was no reason why the scheme could not be introduced here.  “I will be looking to the minister to offer a credible reason why a fuel duty derogation such as that used in Europe cannot be piloted in Orkney and Shetland,” he said.


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