Reacting to the disappointing news that UK economic growth is running at only 0.2%, the FairFuelUK campaign has renewed its call for a cut in fuel duty as a means of stimulating the economy. Robert Halfon MP, who champions the issue of fair petrol and diesel prices in Parliament said, ‘Petrol and diesel are just too expensive. The high prices are hurting families and businesses in my own constituency of Harlow and all across the UK. High fuel prices are holding back growth. The Chancellor took a bold and decisive step in the March budget to abandon the fuel escalator and to cut duty by 1p. The Chancellor has hinted that he may look at tax cuts in the autumn. I urge him to cut fuel duty'.
Quentin Willson, leader of the FairFuelUK campaign said, ‘I told the Treasury back in March that high fuel prices would damage growth. And, sadly here's the proof. Retailers, manufacturing and service industries are all buckling under unaffordable transport costs. And trying to pass those costs on to the consumer has stalled the economy in its tracks.'
The FairFuelUK campaign is backed by the RAC (with 7 million members), and the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association who between them represent 20,000 UK road freight companies. Since its launch in January 2011, it has attracted the support of over 170,000 members of the public. Signing up is free at www.fairfueluk.com
The campaign is focussing on intensive lobbying of MPs and Ministers. In recent weeks, the campaign has initiated a debate in the House and undertaken a ‘car push' down Whitehall to symbolise just how hard families and businesses are finding it to keep the wheels of the economy moving.
John Franklin of the RAC said, ‘All the data suggests that higher fuel prices mean drivers are buying less fuel, creating a drop in revenue for the Exchequer. This clearly shows the Chancellor needs to do something now to help get the prices at the pumps down.'
Theo de Pencier, Chief Executive of the Freight Transport Association said, ‘Many companies in the logistics sector are approaching a tipping point and simply cannot afford to absorb the high fuel costs that they are facing. We have already seen that motorists are being priced off the road, which is certainly hurting the government's tax take, but the implications as industry faces untenable fuel costs could be far greater. Unavoidable costs either destroy companies or get passed on to customers and ultimately this fuels inflation.'
Geoff Dunning, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association said, ‘All our polling suggests that the issue of fuel costs remains a top priority for hauliers and families. In a recent poll, the issue scored 59 out of a possible 100. The next most serious issue in the eyes of the public was the much loved NHS. However, the NHS scored only 6 points in that poll. The politicians need to understand the seriousness of this situation'.