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Caroline urges Chancellor to cut fuel duty
8:00am Monday 18th March 2013 in Romsey
ROMSEY’S MP has urged George Osborne to cut fuel duty in this month’s Budget – warning the daily commute is becoming “unaffordable”.
Conservative Caroline Nokes is the only Hampshire member among a cross-party group of MPs, calling themselves FairFuelUK, which is pleading with the Chancellor to act.
Mr Osborne is widely expected to freeze duty again, having scrapped a 3p a litre rise that would have kicked-in at the start of this year.
But FairFuelUK said even a further freeze was no longer an option, because rising oil prices had pushed the cost of fuel at the pumps to near-record levels.
Ms Nokes, the Romsey & Southampton North MP, said: “This is a recurring issue in my postbag.
“The Chancellor has worked really hard to keep fuel taxes frozen, but, over the last week or so, we have seen a dramatic leap in fuel prices.
“Any fuel duty rise would come on top of that rise in prices, which is already making the commute into work unaffordable.”
Ms Nokes quoted one constituent – earning just £8.50 an hour – who said it was costing £8 a day to commute from Romsey to Fareham.
She added: “The earnings from their first hour at work are spent on getting there. And, in my constituency, there are very few public transport options.”
FairFuelUK claims the support of 19 Conservative and 15 Labour MPs, ahead of a crucial budget on Wednesday.
According to the organisation, the combined fuel duty and VAT on a typical litre of petrol or diesel is now “an eye-watering 80p per litre”.
Yet its research suggested rising pump prices worried 74 per cent of people – far more than EU membership (12 per cent), the horsemeat scandal (2.6 per cent) and gay marriage (0.6 per cent).
Furthermore, studies had found a cut in fuel duty would do more to stimulate the UK economy than bringing back the 10p income tax band.
However, Mr Osborne’s room for manoeuvre could be severely limited, because of stagnant growth and lower-than-expected tax revenues