By Martin Kelly
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has given its support for cross-party action to scrap the Treasury’s three pence fuel duty hike.
Chief Executive of the SCC Liz Cameron said the scrapping of the planned tax hike would help businesses who are being hit with high transportation costs.
Ms Cameron said: “the abandonment of the 3p rise in Fuel Duty planned for August would be a welcome boost for businesses which are having to contend with high transportation and utility costs at a time when domestic demand remains subdued. We therefore support the efforts of Stewart Hosie and other Parliamentarians to have this rise annulled.”
The SCC support comes as the SNP drafted clause, which would scrap the 3 pence rise, is set to be published this week. The clause could force a vote on the planned August rise as the budget completes the final stages of its passage through the Westminster parliament.
The cross-party campaign is backed by Fairfuel UK, which has over 300,000 supporters across the UK and is organised by Peter Carroll, the man behind the successful Gurkha Justice campaign, fronted by Joanna Lumley.
Over fifty MPs from nine parties have already pledged to support the SNP drafted clause on the fairfuel website.
SNP Treasury spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP, who has been co-ordinating the cross-party campaign within Westminster, said:
“This is welcome support from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce for the cross-party action to halt the fuel hike. It highlights the clear business case for the 3 pence rise to be scrapped.
“At a time when the economy is stalling, and we already have the highest fuel tax rates in Europe, it would be economic madness for the Treasury to press ahead with this further rise.
“Scrapping the rise will ease the burden on households and businesses across the country and, crucially, it will help get the economy moving again. In a fairfuel poll of nearly 30,000 people and 3,700 businesses, 85% said the fuel duty rise was the most important tax cut to boost economic growth.
“But scrapping the rise is also a matter of social justice as high fuel prices hurt the pockets of those who can afford it least. Pensioners Campaign UK have also thrown their weight behind the fairfuel campaign, with 73% of surveyed pensioners saying politicians were out of touch with the effect of high fuel prices on their lives.
“The SNP-drafted clause to scrap the 3 pence fuel hike is a clear and effective way for the Treasury to take action now. The momentum is growing as the campaign gets set to return to the chamber. Politicians are throwing aside party difference to back the campaign, and with almost unprecedented support across society, from business leaders to pensioners, it’s time for the UK Government to listen.”