HC Deb 08 March 2004 vol 418 cc1239-40W
Miss McIntosh

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government has to address road fuel poverty(a) in remote and rural areas and (b) for disabled drivers. [159324]

Mr. McNulty

Transport and accessibility are vitally important factors in social exclusion in remote and rural areas. The Government's strategy for improving access to jobs and key services for people in remote and deprived areas is set out in the SEU Report "Making the connections" which the DfT is responsible for implementing. The strategy contains 37 key policies, which crucially do not just involve improving transport but changing where and how services are delivered. Sixteen of the policies have already been implemented and a further thirteen policies and initiatives are under way, including a project to improve travel information and journey planning for job seekers.

Fuel duty rates and other forms of motoring taxation are a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who takes decisions on a Budget by Budget basis taking a range of economic, social and environmental factors into consideration. Some disabled people, for example, are able to claim an exemption from Vehicle Excise Duty, which can mean a saving of up to £165 a year.