Alok Sharma's Westminster Diary: June 28, 2012
Published 29 Jun 2012 09:30 0 Comments
One of the issues which I know is important for many businesses and motorists is the price of petrol and diesel since it is a key part of business and household budgets. Having already raised fuel duty 12 times while in office, Labour left the Treasury with plans for a fuel duty escalator which would have increased fuel duty by one per cent more than the RPI measure of inflation every year until 2015.
By contrast, the Coalition Government has done more to support drivers than any other. The Coalition cut fuel duty last year and avoided two years' worth of rises planned by the previous Labour government.
In the 2011 budget, the Chancellor also announced that he would abolish Labour's existing fuel duty escalator and replaced it with a fair fuel stabiliser, which will limit any fuel duty rises when the international oil price rises above £45 a barrel. Further good news came in recent days when the Chancellor announced to Parliament that he has taken the decision to suspend the planned 3p fuel duty rise due in August until January next year.
This means that from April, this year's fuel duty has been a full 10p per litre lower than it would have been without the Coalition's actions. The further delay to Labour's rise in fuel duty will mean that families will save £159 on filling up the average family car by the end of this year.
Despite the record budget deficit left by the previous government, the Coalition has approached these changes in a responsible manner with the freeze in fuel duty fully paid for by savings made in departmental budgets, details of which will be set out during the Autumn Statement.
This help for motorists, coming on top of the freezing of council tax and putting money back into the pockets of millions of taxpayers through raising the personal allowance, will benefit families, businesses and the broader economy.
The Chancellor will also be pressing large petrol retailers to make sure the recent drop in the international oil price is passed on to hard-pressed consumers at the pump.
The Coalition's latest fuel duty change has been welcomed by business and motoring groups alike. The Federation of Small Businesses described the measure as "excellent news", whilst the AA called it "great news for all motorists".
A clear recognition that the government's action on this issue is widely appreciated.