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Welsh Tory MP joins call for Chancellor to freeze fuel duty

24 Feb 2021 3 minute read
James Wallis MP by London Portrait Photoqrapher David (CC BY 3.0)

A Welsh Tory MP has joined a call for the Chancellor to freeze fuel duty in the next budget on March 3.

Jamie Wallis, who represents the constituency of Bridgend, is one of 26 Conservative MPs to have signed a letter to Rishi Sunak, which demands that he maintains the 10 years freeze.

They have backed a campaign by FairFuelUK, which describes itself as a “public affairs team”, and is funded by a number of organisations, which include the Road Haulage Association, and the Freight Transport Association.

Previous backers have included the RAC, the Association of Pallet Networks, and the UKLPG, which used to be the trade association for the liquid petroleum gas industry in the UK. The organisation became Liquid Gas UK Ltd in July 2019.

FairFuelUK claims to have saved drivers over £110bn in planned tax hikes in duty and VAT through what it calls “constructive and objective campaigning”.

Gaby Hinsliff from The Guardian has described it as “one of the most successful lobbying campaigns in modern political history, successfully diverting billions from the treasury with barely a squeak.”

The letter says: “We recognise the need to balance the nations books following the most difficult of years. However, we are very concerned about the speculation ahead of the Budget that hiking fuel duty is being considered for a number of reasons.

“First, as you will be aware – despite the Government’s important and welcome commitment to freezing fuel duty over the past ten years – when compared with the 27 EU States, the UK still ranks number 1 in total fuel tax take and the highest for filling up at the pumps.

“Second, the wider economic impact of the ten year freeze has been so successful – hiking fuel duty would have a hugely adverse impact on our economic recovery.”

‘Little benefit’ 

The letter adds:  “Therefore, any rise in fuel duty would generate little benefit to the public purse, but would have a detrimental impact for millions.

“Third, increasing fuel duty also impacts bus users, food prices, public services and businesses. Prices for much else, too, go up because of the high cost of transport. FairFuelUK has shown that a 2p rise in fuel duty would add an extra £50 million to public service filling up costs alone.

“Fourth, any potential rise would disproportionately impact the lower paid and workers outside of London. Fuel is one of an ordinary family’s biggest expenses.

“Fifth, the Prime Minister said during the 2019 General election campaign that ‘we don’t want to raise fuel duty’ and that he had ‘absolutely no intention to raise fuel duty.

“Breaking this pledge could lose the trust of millions of people who voted Conservative for the first time.”

The call to freeze fuel duty has been led by Robert Halfon MP.

He said: “Levelling up must mean cutting the cost of living for working people. At a time when those on lower incomes are struggling financially, a fuel duty increase would level down – far from building back better it would damage the foundations of economic recovery.”

Howard Cox, the Founder of FairFuelUK, said: “Motorists are fiscally penalised enough, hitting them with a punitive Budget increase in duty will be politically and economically naïve.

“Truckers and van drivers are the very solution to get back to post pandemic sanity. By burdening them with even more costs, Rishi will risk economic recovery and those new red wall Tory voters will suffer far-reaching increases in shop prices and loss of jobs.”

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