RMIP chairman Brian Madderson has again written to Chancellor George Osborne – as he prepares for next Tuesday’s Autumn Statement – recommending “in the strongest possible terms” cancellation of the planned fuel duty rises in 2012 on road transport fuels.

With the government’s increased VAT rate of 20%, Madderson explains that the duty increase of 3.02ppl planned for January 1, 2012, will in reality add 4ppl to the pump price. A further deferred increase is due on August 1.

“Let me reaffirm our estimate that this combined 8ppl overall tax rise will take as much as £3.5bn a year out of the consumer’s pocket,” he stressed to the Chancellor.

“From customer evidence on our forecourts across the UK, we know that household budgets will be rocked by this post-Christmas tax penalty.”

The RMIP believes that any fuel duty rise next year will:

1)  Place new pressure on UK inflation with possible consequences for interest rates.

2)  Reduce fuel sales yet further and so reduce total potential tax revenue.

3)  Increase the already serious levels of fuel-related crime, eg laundering, smuggling and forecourt theft by drive-offs, “no means of payment” and tank siphoning.

4)  Disadvantage any possible economic recovery.

5)  Mask all political and social gain from MP Danny Alexander’s proposed rural fuel duty rebate scheme, due to be announced imminently.

6)  Increase the current closure rate of independent forecourt operators, especially in the economically challenged rural areas. This loses jobs, local amenities and impacts our overall energy resilience by reducing refined stock at forecourts.

In his letter Madderson also referred to the FairFuel UK campaign which had attracted the support of 115,000 motorists, and led to last week’s debate in the House of Commons.

“In the opinion of my members, this is just another manifestation of the deep public resentment that further fuel tax rises will engender, especially coming so soon after the festive season and when retailers are already fearing a spending drought through the first quarter of the new year.”