FairFuel UK together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fuel has been lobbying the Treasury to support their proposals for PumpWatch a voluntary code to be adopted by industry, which is designed to bring greater transparency and fairness to pump pricing. No details have been seen at this stage but Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign, said: "Everything about the shadowy world of the vehicle fuel supply chain has a musty repugnant smell about the way it formulates pump prices. In the last 12 months, the fuel supply chain has consciously held back wholesale changes amounting to billions. Even if half of these figures had been in drivers’ pockets, what would that have done to consumer spending, inflation, jobs and economic growth?"
While there is nothing wrong with the supply chain in our industry being scrutinised, Mr Cox has begun with smears rather than an examination of the facts. Competition is cut-throat in our industry, with numerous filling stations closing over the past decade because margins in the fuel supply industry are so tight. PRA has had indications from the Treasury in recent months that they are considering raising fuel duty. We are continuing to prioritise lobbying the Treasury to cut or freeze duty as the best way of protecting consumers.
At our recent meeting with the Heads of Fuel Tax at both HMT and HMRC, we reviewed changes to the Road Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), which James Spencer of Portland Fuels eloquently argued in his February 2019 ’Oil Report’ had now become a serious ’stealth tax’. The original charge plus recent additions and VAT increase pump prices by up to 1.7ppl and provide the Treasury with an extra £770m per year. To add to this windfall with an additional rise in fuel duty would be greed and folly on the part of the Treasury.
In a year when the Gilets Jaunes in Paris began their protests on account of the price of fuel, a double hike in fuel prices in this country would be spectacularly bad timing.
At a time when voters are already angry with them, politicians will have to take great care to understand the consequences of their actions.