It has emerged that the Treasury’s plan to extend the existing island fuel rebate scheme to parts of mainland UK may not result in the same 5p/litre rebate enjoyed by those already in the scheme.

Treasury officials have made clear to that the ‘extension’ to the scheme – which sees a fuel rebate of 5p/litre offered to fuel retailers in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the Islands of the Clyde and the Isle of Scilly which they must ultimately pass on to their customers – will officially be a second and separate scheme to the existing one.

Furthermore the precise level of rebate it offers will depend entirely on the average pump price information the Treasury is seeking to gather from nearly 1,500 fuel retailers in 36 counties and districts across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

As a result, the final rebate could be more or less than 5p/litre in any mainland areas that are eventually included, understands.

It has also emerged that the list initially published by the Treasury of counties and districts to be considered for possible inclusion in the scheme was neither complete nor exhaustive. Treasury officials have indicated that Cornwall, for example,which did not appear in an early version of the list, should have been included. They have also indicated that other areas may also be considered for inclusion if their historical average prices exceed those in the current island fuel rebate scheme.

Meanwhile, the FTA has joined other bodies in calling for a blanket fuel duty cut to be brought in across the UK, instead of an extension that applies only to rural areas.

FTA director of policy and communications, James Hookham, said: “Today’s announcement is clear recognition that the government accepts the need for a cut in fuel duty. The proposed cut will obviously help the UK’s rural economy but the FTA strongly believes that this should not be introduced purely in rural areas, but across the country.”