SNP lead cross-party campaign to scrap 3p fuel duty hike

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By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP are working with FairFuel UK to lead a cross-party campaign calling on the UK Government to scrap the 3 pence rise in fuel duty planned for August.

A total of twenty eight MPs, from nine political parties and one independent, have already agreed to support a proposed clause, drafted by the SNP, which will amend the Budget and cancel the autumn rise in fuel duty. 

By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP are working with FairFuel UK to lead a cross-party campaign calling on the UK Government to scrap the 3 pence rise in fuel duty planned for August.

A total of twenty eight MPs, from nine political parties and one independent, have already agreed to support a proposed clause, drafted by the SNP, which will amend the Budget and cancel the autumn rise in fuel duty. 

MPs who have signed in support of the amendment come from the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Northern Ireland’s DUP, SDLP and Alliance parties, as well as Sylvia Hermon who represents North Down as an independent.  George Galloway of Respect, plus three Labour MPs, two Conservatives and a Lib Dem have also declared their support.  The clause will be tabled at the earliest opportunity, when the Finance Bill has completed committee stage, expected in late June.

A study sponsored by FairFuel UK and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggested that a 2.5 pence reduction in fuel duty would result in the creation of 175 thousand jobs within a year and 180 thousand jobs within five years of such a reduction.  The researchers estimated that such a reduction would not result in any fiscal loss to the Government, while GDP would receive a boost of 0.32 per cent within a year and 0.34 per cent within five years.

The study also found that a more significant 5 pence reduction could generate an additional 200 thousand jobs at a net annual cost to the Exchequer of around £1.2 billion within a year, costs which would fall to £1.0 billion per annum within 5 years.

Campaigners claim that these figures prove that a cut in fuel duty would provide a significant boost to the economy while the Coalition government’s cuts and austerity is struggling to create growth.

The SNP’s Treasury Spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP, who is leading the cross-party campaign in parliament, said:

“The level of cross-party support for this clause is astonishing – and reflects the mood across the country that fuel prices must be brought under control.

“The momentum for action is growing with 28 MPs, from across nine parties, and one independent, already signed up. This is an almost unprecedented level of cross party unity on this crucial issue.

“Over the next few weeks we will be working with Fairfuel UK to build even more support, inside and outside parliament, for the clause, and force the Treasury to rethink the planned autumn rise.

“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– they are hammering businesses and hampering economic recovery.

“In the long term a fuel duty regulator would help protect from volatile fuel prices – but in the short term we can take immediate action by scrapping the further 3 pence rise.

“We already have the highest rates of taxes on petrol and diesel in Europe – it’s time to end this highway robbery and call a halt to further rises which will hamper economic recovery.”

Quentin Willson, National Spokesperson for FairFuel UK 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 that they understand and care about this vital issue.”

Peter Carroll, National Organiser of FairFuel UK, added:

“The recent news that the UK economy contracted more sharply than originally estimated makes the need for measures to stimulate growth even more urgent.  Adding 3p per litre when the economy is on its knees, families are struggling to survive week by week and UK businesses are struggling borders on economic madness.

“Poll after poll shows that Fuel Duty is the number 1 priority for voters.  We have shared research with the Government that clearly shows they can cut Fuel Duty and not harm Treasury revenues.  A cut of just 2.5p per litre would boost growth by a much needed 0.33%, create 175,000 jobs and crucially not harm Treasury revenues – the tax take on the stimulated economic growth compensates for the loss of Fuel Duty.”