§ 18. Mrs. Ewing
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when she last discussed with the Chancellor of the Exchequer the impact of fuel taxes on the rural economy of Scotland. 
§ Mr. Foulkes
My right hon. Friend has regular contact with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the Scottish economy.
The Chancellor announced a variety of measures in his pre-Budget report in November last year which will help mitigate the effect of fuel prices on rural areas. These include: the reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty for cars up to 1500cc; the abolition of Vehicle Excise Duty for tractors and agricultural vehicles; a transitional rebate of 50 per cent. for HGV Vehicle Excise Duty; a 2p per litre cut in cleaner ultra-low sulphur petrol and a 3p per litre cut for ultra-low sulphur diesel. He has also announced more recently that any reduction in duty on ultra-low sulphur petrol that is announced in the Budget will be matched by a reduction in duty on unleaded petrol for a temporary period until 14 June 2001.