Wednesday, 16 February 2011 16:42

Calls mount for fuel duty stabiliser

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Calls mount for fuel duty stabiliser

AN INFLUENTIAL Tory MP has called for a fuel duty stabiliser to help rural drivers.

Anne McIntosh was elected to parliament in 1997 and has represented Thirsk and Malton, Yorkshire and Humberside since 2010.

She currently chairs the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee.

The price of fuel was one of the most pressing issues facing people across the country, said Mrs McIntosh.

Nowhere was this more so than in rural areas, where large distances were coupled with limited public transport alternatives.

"Those living in rural areas are particularly dependent on their cars," Mrs McIntosh wrote in an article for the Epolitix website.

"The elderly, those on fixed incomes as well as those with young children are even more reliant on their cars for visiting their doctors, seeing their families, and doing their shopping."

"The recent massive increase in the price of fuel is therefore eating into their household income."

Small businesses were also suffering. Mrs McIntosh said the cash flow of 6000 small businesses in her constituency was being hit at an already hard time.

"We will all feel the effect in the price of everyday items as haulage companies when be severely hit.

To ease the pain, the government should abandon a planned rise in fuel duty rise on 1 April, which would translate to more than 4p at the pump.

It should also look at introducing a fuel duty stabiliser, Mrs McIntosh said.

This would mean that when oil prices increased, the stabiliser would allow the government to reduce duty to a lower limit.

"Oil prices are not likely to fall, and if duty continues to rise, it will put vehicle running costs beyond many individuals and businesses."

A fourth option would be the introduction of a rebate for remote rural areas, Mrs McIntosh suggested.

"A rebate would follow the model of the government's pilot scheme, where a maximum of 5 pence per litre of duty is discounted on petrol and diesel."

The full article written by Mrs McIntosh can be read by clicking here.

Her call came as European petrol prices dropped in line with wholesale price reductions while UK prices continued to rise.

Rarely has the need for transparency in UK pump prices been so clearly illustrated, according to the latest AA Fuel Price Report.

Had a 2p drop in the market cost of petrol been passed on to drivers here, it would have wiped out most of January's VAT rise.

Mid-February average petrol prices have hit yet another all-time high, now standing at 128.81p a litre, up 0.54p from mid-January.

Diesel prices have also reached a new record of 134.01p, up 1.26p on the mid-January average.

A year ago, petrol cost on average 112.10p/litre and diesel 113.84p/litre.

Drivers spent £8.36 less to fill a typical 50-litre petrol tank and and £10.09 less to fill a diesel tank.

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