Don’t Raise Fuel Duty

Natascha writes for Derbyshire Times on 15/11/2012

Don’t raise Fuel Duty!

 “That this House believes that, at a time when the cost of living is rising and our economic recovery is fragile, it cannot be right to increase fuel duty by the planned 3p in January 2012; calls upon the Chancellor to cancel this rise in fuel duty at least until next April; and believes this change could be funded by clamping down on known tax avoidance schemes.”

On Monday, the Labour Party used one of its Opposition Days in Parliament to force a vote on not raising the price of petrol.

In surgeries, on doorsteps, or just talking in the supermarket queue, everyone discusses the cost of living. And in this rural part of Derbyshire, the cost of putting petrol in your car, just to get to work, is becoming the highest cost of all.

This comes at the same time as everyone, families, pensioners, businesses, are already feeling it in their pockets with higher food prices and rising gas and electricity bills.

It also comes at a time of uncertainty and job insecurity when people are concerned about not losing what they have. Prices are rising faster than wages and families are being hit hard by the government’s VAT hike, cuts to tax credits and child benefit.

That is why in Parliament this week, we called for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cancel January’s planned 3p rise in fuel duty – at least until next April. We put this to the vote in the Commons, and would have hoped that MPs from all parties would stand up for their constituents and back our call. It is a shame that the Tories and the Liberals voted against us.

Petrol now costs an average of £1.36 per litre. That’s 5p higher than in the summer when George Osborne backed Labour’s demand to postpone August’s fuel duty rise. And fuel has risen 15p since the General Election in 2010.

This is not the right time to hit the economy with another tax rise on small firms and people on low and middle incomes – especially in rural areas like this.

Some of the supermarkets have announced this week that they are cutting their fuel prices to encourage people into the shops before Christmas, and that’s very welcome news. But Ministers need to keep the pressure up to make sure that prices stay down in the New Year too.

The Tory-Liberal Coalition government needs to concentrate on clamping down on those who avoid paying their fair share of tax so that millions don’t have to pay more – always hitting hardest those who are struggling most with basic things like getting to work, taking the children to school or doing the weekly shop.

Natascha Engel

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