Brown urges faster drop in petrol prices

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Indy Politics

Prime Minister Gordon Brown today said the price of petrol at the pumps should be coming down faster.

Mr Brown said customers should be able to take advantage of the plummeting price of oil.

He was addressing a business breakfast in Edinburgh this morning, before embarking on a day of campaigning on the Glenrothes by-election trail.

He also told business leaders that the Scottish banking industry can come through the current crisis, after the multi-billion pound Government bail-out of HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Prime Minister said many people are facing difficulties with their gas and electricity bills because of the price of oil.

And he added: "The price at the petrol pump is coming down and it should come down faster.

"The oil price trebled and people paid a huge price for that. The oil price has halved and I want people to get the full benefit of that and I want that to be fed through to people."

Mr Brown is due to visit the Gulf States later this month to address the unstable oil price.

Food prices, energy bills and the transport industry are among the areas which suffer a knock-on effect when fuel price rise.

"It's affecting everyone," Mr Brown said.

"More people shaking their heads when they go to a petrol station and find what the price of petrol has gone up to as a result of oil prices.

"Now oil prices are going down and this is our chance to get a stable energy market."

He said one reason for the fall is that oil producing states see other countries, like the UK, investing in alternative energies.

This includes nuclear power, as well as investments in renewables and electric powered cars.

"As long as we can show that there are alternatives to oil and that they are going to come on stream, then I think you're going to see a change in the attitude of oil producers and that's happening in the oil markets," he added.

Mr Brown said that HBOS and Royal Bank of Scotland had faced "huge problems" and reiterated previous calls to banks for faster action to write off their bad debts.

"I believe that our Scottish banking system can come through this," he said.

"We can be stronger in the future if we adopt the difficult decisions that are necessary to put us on a solid foundation for the future."

Mr Brown said a critical issue was that banks start lending again, adding that a condition of the Government bail-out had been that lending returned to 2007 levels.

He said that low interest rates and falling inflation, along with lower national debt than other countries, will help the UK through the current economic turbulence.

"It is the first global crisis that we're having to deal with in this new industrial age where so much is global," he said.

"I'm confident that the opportunities for our economy are great in the years to come."