Motorists call for Chancellor to cancel fuel tax rise
Apr 1 2009 by Henryk Zientek, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
MOTORISTS in Yorkshire issued an eleventh-hour plea for Chancellor Alistair Darling to cancel today’s fuel duty increase.
As drivers across the region faced paying an extra 2.12p a litre in fuel duty and VAT from today, a survey by motoring organisation the AA highlighted the strength of feeling.
Some 82% of motorists polled in Yorkshire said they were unhappy about an increase in the duty while 84% said the Chancellor should decrease or freeze fuel duty in his forthcoming Budget.
Yorkshire motorists were among the most critical of the increase – along with those in the north-east, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The poll of more than 10,000 motorists found that only 18% across the UK accepted the need for fuel duty to rise to support Government spending while 65% were strongly against it and 15% said they would be unhappy if it went ahead.
Just 5% said the Government should use fuel duty revenue to prop up the country’s general finances while 13% were happy to see fuel duty rise if it is used only for roads and transport.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “More than 80% of drivers either want the proposed fuel duty increase frozen or cut.
With the economy struggling, it seems an odd time to burden business, hauliers and drivers with increased costs. Petrol and diesel are necessities, yet are taxed as luxuries.”
The survey also found that twice as many men than women thought fuel duty should be increased to allow the Government to spend on other areas.
Young drivers were the most unhappy about a duty rise – 83% – whereas older drivers were least unhappy at 68%. Older drivers were most inclined to see duty rises as necessary to allow Government spending in other areas.
Huddersfield petrol retailer Chris Stern, who runs filling stations in Milnsbridge and Paddock, has already said a reprieve was unlikely, despite the impact higher fuel duty would have on the economy.
The survey comes as the AA urged motorists to register their views at www.the AA.com/zone.
UK motoring organisations are also continuing their campaign for an inquiry into petrol price movements.
The AA has joined motoring groups across Europe in urging the EU’s competition commissioner to investigate price hikes which were running at more than one-and-a-half times the inflation rate in January and early February before flattening over the past few weeks.