Monday, 22 March 2010

Stop this fuel tax disgrace - duty hike must be postponed

Today we've renewed our calls for a freeze on fuel duty ahead of the Budget on Wednesday.

Fuel duty is set to rise by a further 2.55 pence per litre from April 2010 (1% above the rate of inflation) which will cost the average family an extra £200 a year and cause further problems to small businesses already struggling with higher fuel duties. Plaid has insisted that this duty hike should be postponed.

Campaign organisations such as the Road Haulage Association and local dairy farmers and contractors have come out in support of our calls for a fair fuel duty regulator. Under such a plan, an unexpected spike in petrol prices would lead to a freeze on fuel duty.

MPs from Plaid and the SNP have tabled an Early Day Motion urging a freeze on fuel duty and repeating calls for the establishment of a fuel duty regulator.

This will be the third time in as many years I have called for the introduction of a fuel regulator. It is the people of Aberconwy that will feel the pinch again if this fuel hike goes ahead. This will affect everybody from our dairy farmers, small businesses, and our struggling tourism industry. But as ever, it is always those who can afford the least who will be hit the hardest.

This is an issue that affects all parts of Aberconwy. Hard-working families feel the struggle of trying to run a car, but also these sky-high fuel taxes also impact on businesses, on prices in stores as costs rise to deliver food and other products to the shops, on the emergency services and on other public services.

Many people do not realise that when the VAT was decreased, the Westminster Government stuck an extra tax on fuel to compensate. That extra tax is still there and we are now facing another hike on top of it. This is deceitful and underhanded and I urge the Chancellor to come clean and give our people a break.

I'm pictured here with agricultural contractor Arwyn Vaughn who like every rural business will be badly affected by this fuel hike.

More from my colleague, Plaid's Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd MP, follows.

Phil Edwards

Rising fuel duty prices are already crippling industry – but it is also an unfair burden on struggling families, small businesses, rural areas in particular, and also sectors such as the emergency services will be hit especially hard by this.

This is just punishing ordinary people for a banking system failure that the London government helped to create. If the Chancellor needs to raise revenue he should do this by doing more to address tax avoidance by the affluent.

He needs to go much further than he has so far in introducing a genuinely progressive tax system. For example he could abolish the pension tax relief for the wealthy - not simply reducing it - and introduce he higher rate of tax at £100k not £150k. 

We will continue to fight this fuel hike and urge the introduction of a fuel duty regulator at the Budget to ensure price stability as well as lower fuel taxes.

Elfyn Llwyd MP


Plaid Cymru has long campaigned for a new mechanism to cap petrol prices. Together with the SNP, a motion to amend the Finance Bill in 2008 to create a Fuel Duty regulator, was voted down by Labour.

1. FUEL DUTY Early Day Motion, tabled this week by Plaid’s Adam Price MP and the SNP’s Stewart Hosie MP, reads:

That this House notes the recent unexpected spike in the price of petrol at the pump, recognises that unexpected increases in the price of fuel impacts significantly upon hard-working families, businesses of all sizes, seriously affects those living in rural areas who have no transport alternative except private cars, and impacts upon the costs of public services; recognises the need for greater research, development and support for reducing our dependency upon oil for everyday use, but in the short-term calls for a freeze on fuel duty in this Budget to protect those affected by the current price spike and further calls for a fuel duty regulator to prevent unexpected spikes in prices from affecting hard working families in future.

2. SNP/PC motion last vote on 2 July 2008 (Finance Bill) – 308 to 14. Labour voted against, Cons and Lib Dems abstained. PC and SNP voted for. 2 weeks later, 16 July 2008, Tories put down a similar motion.

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