Robert Halfon MP

Robert Halfon MP

Pressure is increasing on the Treasury to cut tax on road fuels with one Tory MP suggesting prices are so high they are causing a de facto lockdown because motorists can’t afford to refuel their vehicles.

Robert Halfon MP told the Commons on Thursday March 17: “Motorists are paying £1.60 or more for their petrol and diesel and we are heading for a de facto lockdown where parents cannot afford to take their kids to school and workers cannot afford to commute by car and have to stay at home.”

Addressing the transport secretary Grant Shapps he added: “Will my right honourable friend make appeals to the Treasury to cut fuel duty in the spending round next week?”

His call came as the PRA warned that forecourts in Northern Ireland are now at a competitive disadvantage with their counterparts across the border in the Irish Republic after its government cut fuel duty.

Last week the Republic of Ireland cut fuel duty by 20 cents (17p) a litre on unleaded and 15 cents (13p) on diesel and the PRA said motorists and fleet operators were crossing the border to fill their tanks.”

Gordon Balmer, executive director of the PRA said: “It is crucial that the government takes steps to reduce the burden of energy prices on consumers. Government inaction is now impacting our members in NI, who are unable to match the prices of their counterparts across the border. We strongly urge the Chancellor to follow the example of other European countries and cut fuel duty.”