Rural families to bear brunt of fuel duty rise, MPs warn
Struggling families will benefit from a campaign to scrap a fuel duty rise this summer, MPs have said.
So far 35 MPs – none from the West – from nine parties have signed a pledge to oppose the hike, which the Coalition intends to impose in August.
There has been anger from motorists about the 3p-a-litre rise in fuel duty on August 1 and problems are especially acute in rural areas.
Not only are distances to vital services such as hospitals and schools longer in the countryside, there is also far less public transport, forcing families into their cars.
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Added to this is the double whammy of higher rural fuel prices and lower wages than their urban counterparts.
The most remote areas have benefited from a 5p-per-litre discount on pump prices, but the West missed out when it came into effect in March – it only applied to the Scilly Isles and some Scottish islands.
The Westminster part of the campaign is being led by the nationalist parties the SNP and Plaid Cymru, who will force a Commons vote towards the end of June.
SNP Treasury spokesman Stewart Hosie said: “The lack of action on fuel prices was one of the biggest issues missing in the Chancellor’s Budget.
“High costs of fuel aren’t just hurting the pockets of hard-pressed householders across the UK – hammering businesses and hampering economic recovery.
“We already have the highest rate of taxes on petrol and diesel in Europe – it’s time to end this highway robbery.”
Quentin Willson, of FairFuelUK, said: “Now’s the time to show that Parliament really can join together and stand up for the greater good.
“The cost of fuel is one of this country’s most pressing social issues – we’re calling on all MPs to show the hard-working people and businesses of Britain they understand and care about this vital issue.”
The group says with the economy slumping into recession, the need for measures to stimulate economic growth was even more urgent.
It says that polling on the August increase, equivalent to 14p a gallon, showed the soaring cost of filling the family car was at the top of people’s priorities.
Its evidence suggests even a modest cut in fuel duty of 2.5p a litre would create 175,000 jobs and boost growth.
In the Budget, Chancellor George Osborne insisted there would be no change to the existing plans on fuel duty, and the 3.02p a litre rise would go ahead on August 1.
Bristol-based green transport charity Sustrans has urged the Chancellor to go ahead with the 3p increase and use the cash to help those who would prefer to use public transport.