MP calls for fuel price cut

STORY TELLER: MP Iain Wright reads Disney tales to Barnard Grove Primary.
STORY TELLER: MP Iain Wright reads Disney tales to Barnard Grove Primary.

HARTLEPOOL MP Iain Wright is appealing for the Government to reverse the rise in VAT on fuel that was introduced in January.

Mr Wright is calling on the Chancellor George Osborne to overturn the Government’s VAT rise on fuel after prices on the pumps rocketed in recent months to around 130p a litre for unleaded in Hartlepool.

He says the hike in VAT to 20 per cent in January has added almost 3p to the price of a litre of petrol and will raise £700m for the Treasury, according to figures from the House of Commons Library.

The Labour MP is also calling on the Government to reconsider increasing fuel duty by 5p a litre on April 1.

Mr Wright said: “I’ve said in the Mail that the cost of petrol is really hurting motorists and families in Hartlepool.

“It’s time Chancellor George Osborne took immediate action on fuel prices to ease the pressure on families in the town who are already facing a tough year.

“He should immediately reverse the VAT rise on fuel, which has added nearly 3p to the price of a litre of petrol, using the extra £800m the Treasury will be getting from the bank levy.

“And in the Budget next week George Osborne should look again at the annual fuel duty rise due in April. The last Labour government often postponed planned duty increases when world oil prices were on the up, as they are now.

“The Tories promised a ‘fuel duty stabiliser’ to win votes before the election, but in Parliamentary Questions to me have been non-committed about whether they will introduce one.

“If they don’t deliver one it will just be another broken promise from this Government.”

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls added: “George Osborne needs to act immediately to reverse the VAT rise on fuel. It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and is hitting families and businesses in Hartlepool and elsewhere hard.”

It comes after a Labour Party motion calling for the VAT rise to be reversed was defeated in Parliament.

A Government amendment to the motion, which recognised the “significant impact of high fuel prices” and stressed that the Government was considering a “fair fuel stabiliser” was passed by 307 votes to 239, majority 68.

The Government has already applied to the European Commission to be allowed to cut fuel duty for residents on some British islands.

Chancellor George Osborne has promised economic growth and hinted at fuel duty cuts in a speech to the Tory spring conference in Cardiff earlier this month.

Mr Osborne told party activists: “I know how hard the rises in world oil prices are hurting families in Britain.

“When it costs £1.30 for a litre of petrol, £80 to fill up a family car, I know people are feeling squeezed. And I say to people watching: ‘I hear you’.”