Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assemblyman and member of the Stormont Agriculture and Culture Committees, has said “urgent action is needed to tackle the soaring price of petrol and diesel”.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman, warned that if effective moves were not implemented as soon as possible. “a fuel poverty crisis of a different kind” could develop.
Mr Swann added: “The latest report from the Consumer Council identifies our Province as the most expensive place in Europe to purchase petrol or diesel.
“This is a further indictment of the Westminster Government’s failure to introduce fuel price stabilising measures to Northern Ireland.
“Over 70% of the cost of petrol and diesel consists of Excise Duty and VAT, therefore, as prices increase so too does the Exchequer’s tax take.
“The Government needs to take action to minimise the effects of increasing oil prices by freezing, or reducing the level of taxes applied to petrol and diesel.
“If Westminster lacks the courage to do this, then perhaps it should devolve further powers to the Assembly to combat this new fuel poverty crisis.
“Action also needs to be taken to ensure that when the world price of crude oil falls, that the reduction is passed on to consumers as rapidly as increases are imposed.
“It must be recognised that increased fuel prices not only affects motorists, but has a knock-on affect on transport and business costs, which are inevitably passed on to consumers in the form of increased price of goods and services,” said Assemblyman Swann.