Thursday, 3 March 2011

message from SNP to Scotland re fuel





Dear Scotland,

This evening [Wednesday March 2nd] the Scottish Parliament will debate the high cost of fuel and have the opportunity to call for fair fuel costs.

Despite being an oil rich nation, the price of petrol and diesel in Scotland is amongst the highest in Europe and that is putting severe pressure on families, businesses and hauliers the length and breadth of the country.

Right now in some of our rural communities people are paying over £1.45 for a litre of petrol and just last week, experts warned that it could cost over £100 to fill up an average size car. The price at the pump is only going to skyward unless some action is taken urgently.

Whilst the Scottish Government may not have the power to lift this burden placed on everyone in the country, only the Tory-LibDem Government at Westminster can do that and so far they have refused. In fact, the UK Government are set to make things even worse by increasing tax duty by 4p per litre this April.

We don't think that's fair. That's why we're asking the Scottish Parliament to back our motion calling for the 4p increase to be scrapped and a fuel duty regulator introduced.

What this regulator does is simple. When the price of oil increases and the UK treasury is fillings its coffers, that will be directly passed on to motorists at the pump, keeping the price of fuel at a reasonable and constant level.

Tonight in the Parliament there is an opportunity for all the parties to unite and put pressure on the UK government to take the action that people want -- for the fuel duty increase to be scrapped and a fuel duty regulator, as promised, to be delivered.

Thank you for your support,

Keith Brown MSP

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Andy the Daft Hermit lives 45 minutes outside Inverness with his wife Mel in an old bus parked in a layby. This current home of theirs is the longest they have ever stayed in one spot. “I’ve been travelling now 25 years,” said Andy Lowe. “Mel’s been travelling 15. One of the reasons we’ve come and stayed up here is because of Mel’s health. I wanted to bring her to the mountains for fresh air and clean water and just a slower pace of life.” Mel has had breast cancer twice, skin cancer once, and for three years believed she had bone cancer after being wrongly diagnosed. Andy’s belief in the restorative powers of the north made them pack up ‘The Black Bus’ that they live in and cross the border into Scotland. New Highland home for hermit couple Andy and Mel “I think we both believe in trying to get to a more simple way of life,” said Andy, “but it’s strange for us because we are sort of hermits, or we like to live separate, but it’s not being anti-social… it’s just the way we are that allows us to be creative.” Andy first began travelling when he left the army. Fed up with bureaucracy he packed a rucksack and left for France and has been travelling ever since. By investing any money the couple have earned into solar panels and wind generators they now live a self-sustaining existence, without electric bills, and collect rain water “straight from Heaven”. “It’s not easy,” said Mel. “There might be time when there might not be enough facilities around, but you always find a way, you know?” Rather than rejecting technology, Andy blogs about his travels online and collaborates with artists from around the world via his ‘Scratchy Heid Film Studio’, which he runs from a static trailer next to the couple’s bus. He explained his philosophy: “My belief is that if you can go through life and you drop dead and you’ve got a balance there that slightly outweighs the good than the bad, you’ve done alright. “Yesterday, with what Mel’s been through with the cancer and all that, I had a woman on one of my sites there that thanked me for the writing, for the positive things, and to me that’s worth everything. You can keep your millions, we’re not interested. That is what we do.” To check out Andy’s artwork and video projects check out his website. MORE FROM THE NORTH

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