FairFuel UK has made a fresh appeal on the Treasury to quantify the economic and social cost to the UK of the 3ppl hike in fuel duty planned for August.
The call comes as Prime Minister David Cameron was reported to be in support of the cancellation of the duty increase, but is facing resistance from the Treasury, despite the fact that 50 MPs, including seven Conservatives, have signed a Commons motion calling for the duty increase to be axed.
Quentin Willson, lead spokesman for FairFuel UK, which is spearheading the call to scrap the 3ppl fuel duty rise, said: “Every economist knows that fuel is such an integral part of virtually every financial transaction, and those transactions are made more expensive every time the pump price goes up. What’s difficult to understand about this? You raise fuel duty, you damage the economy.
“I’m asking the Treasury to quantify the economic and social cost to this country of their planned 3p rise. Tell us that it won’t cause economic contraction, increase costs for businesses and put people out of work. Tell us that the cash it brings in to the Treasury won’t be dwarfed by the extra social and economic heartache that this insane rise will cause. I’m waiting.”
The CEO of Asda, Andy Clarke, has also joined the debate, demanding the tax rise is cancelled. “Andy Clarke agrees with FairFuel that the August rise will damage the economy and put extra costs on the UK supply chain,” said Willson. “And when a bloke so close to the heart of British business says that high fuel costs reduce economic activity, we should all take notice. But this split in the Coalition, this constant wrangling and arguing, is because the Treasury won’t answer the dirigible-sized question: how much will this impending rise of 15p a gallon actually cost the UK economy? Nobody wants to answer that one. I’ve asked them so many times, presented economic research, talked about the loss of jobs, reduction in profitability, extra welfare costs and the increased burden on families and businesses, but they just won’t engage. They don’t want to do the calculation.
“Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says that the 3ppl duty rise in August should go ahead and that we can’t afford the loss of £1.5bn to the public finances that the rise would generate. Yet 50 MPs are planning to vote against the increase and aides to David Cameron are making every effort to scrap the hike and freeze duty at its current level. They know that another rise in duty will be enormously damaging to the government at a time when Westminster needs all the goodwill it can get.”