Call for fairer petrol prices from Robert Halfon MP zooms to near top of epetitions website
By Tim Montgomerie
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Mark Gettleson recently drew attention to Populus polling which showed that energy prices and the cost of petrol topped the list of voters' concerns. Tory MP Robert Halfon has been pursuing this issue for some time. He has teamed up with Fair Fuel UK to campaign for lower petrol duty, arguing that the current level of tax is hurting ordinary families and the economy.
Rob's Cut The Fuel Duty petition currently is the second most supported petition on the new Government website (with 13,193 signatures at the time of posting). That's 5,000 more than Guido's petition on the death penalty and 6,000 more on the Express' call to leave the EU. It states:
"High petrol and diesel prices are crippling our economy. Many motorists now pay a tenth of their income just to fill up the family car, and millions of families are suffering. Businesses are under immense pressure, especially the road freight industry. But petrol and diesel are now so astronomically expensive, it is COSTING the Government money. This is because fewer people can afford to drive, leading to lower tax revenues. Therefore, this petition calls on the Government to:
1) Scrap the planned 4p fuel duty increases, which are scheduled for January and August 2012.
2) Create a price stabilisation mechanism that smooths out fluctuations in the pump price.
3) Pressure big oil companies to pass on cheaper oil to motorists.
4) Set up a Commission to look at market competitiveness, and radical ways of cutting fuel taxes in the longer term."
You can sign it here.
Reacting to the survey result Robert Halfon - MP for Harlow - commented:
"Cutting petrol taxes must be a priority for the Chancellor- over and above clamour to cut taxes for high earners. The average Harlow motorists pays a tenth of their income on fuel- £1700 a year. The Government defines fuel poverty as someone who spends a tenth of their income on fuel. In essence the average motorist is facing fuel poverty. To those 'do-gooders' who say we shouldn't be using cars, I say get in the real world. The question is not can you afford to have a car - but can you afford not to: Britain is a great car economy. The cost of petrol is crucifying motorists up and down our country. Businesses, families, job seekers are suffering under the strain. High petrol prices are a break on economic growth, push up costs on frontline public services and act as a poverty trap to those seeking work."
On a personal note I've known Rob for more than twenty years. We were at university together. He's a tireless campaigner with a common touch who has worked hard over a decade to turn the Harlow constituency blue. Since being elected he has campaigned for more privacy from the likes of Google, greater recognition of apprentices and also against Libyan and extremist funding of Britain's universities. His fair fuel campaign will, I think, be his biggest yet. A good TV performer I make a prediction that he'll be Tory Chairman one day. He's made for the job.