A large number of my constituents have contacted me in recent weeks about motoring costs.
High world oil prices are driving up the cost of fuel at the petrol pump and are making life hard for families and businesses – especially small businesses. As the local MP, of course I understand the concern.
Motorists have genuine problems and the Government has listened. Action was taken last November which will provide motorists with significant savings now. In the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor took steps to help households with motoring costs this year by freezing fuel duty until August and scrapping a second planned rise altogether.
Despite the unprecedented financial constraints the Government is operating within, it has acted by:
• cutting Fuel Duty by 1 pence per litre last year; • introducing a new Fair Fuel Stabiliser that ensures North Sea oil companies contribute more when oil prices are high; • freezing Fuel Duty until August this year; and • scrapping altogether a planned Fuel Duty rise due in the summer inherited from the last Government.
This represents a £4.5 billion support package for motorists from 2011-2013. As a result of these measures, fuel prices will be 10 pence per litre lower as of April 2012.
By the end of the year, the action Ministers have taken means families will save £144 on filling up the average family car. In addition, the Chancellor used this year’s Budget to increase Vehicle Excise Duty by inflation only. VED for road hauliers was again frozen.
I know that this reduction in fuel duty - while welcome - has not ended the pressure on families and businesses. At a time when we are spending more than £120 million every day on debt interest payments alone, our priority must be to deal with the record budget deficit. Tackling the debts we inherited from Labour will also keep interest rates lower, helping businesses and families with mortgages.
The Government will continue to do what it can to protect the UK economy, help families and put in place the longer-term conditions needed for strong and sustainable growth.