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ref date:1 Apr 1999 (ECON)
Rural Scots hit hardest by rampant price increases

The population of Scots who live and work in the most remote parts of Scotland and who pay taxes into London' coffers are hardest hit by artificially fixed high food and petrol prices.

MacKay consultants performed a survey on the cost of living in these areas and concluded " The higher cost of petrol is partly because of VAT and fuel duty, but it is also because of the way the oil companies set prices in rural areas.

"There is a lot of discounting in the towns and cities. Because of price wars between the different oil companies, retailers in the cities are offered discounts while those in the rural areas where there is little competition are not.

"Rural communities are paying between 4 and 5 per cent more for food and consumer durables, whereas they are paying between 11 and 15 per cent more for their petrol and upto 30 per cent more in some areas.

"The income levels in rural Scotland tend to be lower than the rest of the country, which exacerbates the disparities."

So much for Nu-Labours promise to price index watch the Scottish economy and help maintain balance