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Island communities set for a cut in fuel duty

It is a long time since motorists in any part of the UK had anything to cheer about, but it does seem now that a few thousand of the millions of drivers that can still afford to take their vehicles out for a spin, are in line for a small respite from increasing costs.

Islanders get a raw deal

People living in the outer reaches of the UK may at long last be getting a 5p per litre cut in fuel prices. Motorists on the outer boundaries of Britain have for a long time got a poor deal compared to the rest of us. Very little is spent on road maintenance and the cost of getting fuel out to the islands has always meant an extra few pence on the cost. The islanders who rarely have accidents have never done too well with car insurance cover either. Because of the remoteness of the islands the number of car insurance brokers is much less than those in other parts of the country. Less competition means prices tend to stay higher and even more prohibitive motoring costs are inflicted on the occupants of the islands.

Reduction in the pipeline

For many years pressure groups and MPs who represent the islanders have harangued transport ministers and treasury experts to make a special case for places like Shetland and introduce some sort of discounted fuel duty, at long last it looks like it may happen. According to Alastair Carmichael the Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland the Coalition Government is about to announce a 5p cut in the price of fuel for: the Isles of Scilly, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles and the islands in the Clyde Estuary.

Increase in the New Year will cancel benefits

It is thought the reduction in duty will at first be given to retailers who will be compelled to pass it on to their customers. There is no word yet whether the proposed increase of 3p a litre on fuel destined to take place in January has been put on hold. If not the hard fought campaign to get relief for the islanders will be short lived indeed.

Bright ideas for night driving

As the world we live in becomes busier, more and more motorists are finding they have to carry out journeys in the dark. The saying that New York is a city that never sleeps could now be applied to dozens of towns and cities across the UK.

It isn’t natural

Shift workers in all types of occupations now find themselves driving at night, and a warning from the Institute of Advanced Drivers (IAD) that night driving is far more hazardous than day time driving and, percentage wise, results in far more claims on motor vehicle insurance policies should be heeded by all of them. The IAD advise there are plenty of precautions motorists can take to protect themselves and their passengers when driving at night. Accepting the fact that for human beings night time activity is unnatural is the first thing to understand.

Shed some light on the subject

Night time affects our judgement in many ways but it is our eyesight that suffers most. The IAD suggest every use of artificial light available should be used to its best advantage. They suggest turning your car headlights on an hour before official times to enable other drivers to see you better and at the same time dim any lights in the car (this will cut down on glare and also keep the driver more alert to what is happening on the outside of his vehicle). They advise to drive on full beam whenever it is safe to do so and also to remember that shadows and artificial light can affect your judgement of distances.

Every second counts

Driving comfortably below the speed limit will give you that extra split second of braking time in an emergency, and will also give other drivers more time to assess your vehicle in relation to theirs. Ensure all your lights are working and make sure your windows and mirrors are clean, this will not only give you greater visibility but will make your car more visible to others.

Take a break

Finally remember that it is natural to feel sleepy at night. Thousands of discount car insurance deals are spoilt every year because a driver fell asleep at the wheel when journeying overnight. The IAD advise all drivers to stop and rest at regular intervals when driving overnight whether they are professional drivers or holiday makers making a once in a year journey.

Anger at Hospital parking charges

Patient groups have reacted with fury to the coalition government’s refusal to scrap car parking charges at hospitals, and they claim that the charges are just a ‘tax on illness’.

Government ministers are set to give each hospital trust the power to make a decision on whether they will continue charging patients and their relatives for parking. The parking charges raise over £110 million every year, with four hospitals taking over £1 million each from the unpopular scheme.

Cancer patients, who have to pay parking charges, make around 53 trips to a hospital during treatment and many find this a huge financial burden. Recent surveys showed that 90 percent of Britons want cancer patients to receive free hospital parking. Currently there is no charge to park at hospitals in Scotland and Wales while in Northern Ireland cancer patients get free parking. In England, a cancer patient could be landed with charges of more than £300 just for parking during the course of their treatment. The coalition government insist there has been no U-turn because it was not they who pledged to axe the fees. The fees are also stopping relatives from visiting sick family members. Some are forced to car share and park away from the hospital to avoid the charges, but this could lead to claims on their car insurance as the surrounding streets are not as secure.

Health minister, Simon Burns, said “For a long time we have been unconvinced that Labour’s car parking idea was properly funded and practical. We will publish a response soon and all decisions will be subject to the spending review. Andy Burnham himself was forced to retreat from his initial commitment on hospital car parking and even some members of his own party didn’t support his proposal. That said, it is clear that where parking charges are preventing friends and family from visiting, then hospital trusts have a responsibility to respond.”