A gathering of the nation’s biggest independent petrol retailers were urged to support RMI Petrol’s campaign to cut fuel duty, by the association’s chairman Brian Madderson.

In his rousing and amusing pre-dinner speech at the prestigious annual Top 50 Indies dinner, which took place during IFFE at the NEC, Birmingham,  Madderson described how, by always saying “yes”, he had conducted countless radio and TV interviews during his 18 months in his role as RMIP chairman. He had also been extremely busy meeting and lobbying those with influence, in his attempts to educate the government and the general public about the difficulties faced by fuel retailers.

A notable success had been concessions on business rates, which would enable some retailers to benefit from  “significant” savings.

He also spoke about RMIP’s challenge against the Coalition government on their taxation policy on fuel. He described LibDem Danny Alexander’s scheme to help rural motorists – to be trialled in the Scilly Isles – as a “sham”, and rued that the fuel retailing industry had not been consulted about how to help the rural areas.

He also spoke about the Conservative fuel stabiliser idea. “Again, we wrote to them and said why don’t you talk to us about our ideas…”

“The fuel stabiliser won’t take off, can’t possibly be brought into action in time for the Budget,” he said. “I’ve no idea what the Conservatives are doing with it…”

He also described how the duty escalator, which will trigger a further 1ppl fuel duty rise on April 1, will in reality add 5p to the price of a litre of fuel.

“We’ve spent a lot of time telling the government that the rise would be sheer madness, affecting small businesses and petrol retailers.”

He said The Sun’s campaign in support of the RMIP stance to keep fuel duty down, had collected 150,000 signatures.

Summing up, Madderson said the RMIP had come a long way in educating the public about how much the government takes in tax from a litre of fuel; and disputing claims of profiteering by fuel retailers.

As a note of encouragement he said the Select Committee for Energy had chosen energy resilience as their next inquiry topic, “so we will have every chance, as the petrol retailing industry, to put in our concerns to the Select Committee going forward”.