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Jonathan Isaby: When you discover how much the Government taxes your petrol, you’ll want to support the campaign to

Jonathan Isaby is the Political Director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance. Follow Jonathan and the TPA on Twitter.

Screen shot 2012-08-21 at 10.18.05

The Government is working to try and make the tax system more transparent. At the last Budget, George Osborne announced the introduction of annual tax statements after a successful campaign by Ipswich MP, Ben Gummer. Those statements still need some improvement: they leave out Employers’ National Insurance, for example, and that means they understate the amount people are paying in direct taxes, let alone indirect taxes. But they are a big step in the right direction.

Treasury minister David Gauke has also released a tax app that allows people to work out the amount they are paying in direct taxes – a move which won him the accolade of TPA Pin-Up of the Month in May.

But we can’t just leave the job of promoting tax transparency to the Government, because we all know how slowly the cogs do turn inside the Treasury and other Whitehall departments. That is why the TaxPayers’ Alliance is today releasing new fuel tax stands, which are being sent to 5,000 independent petrol forecourts across the country, to set out in stark terms just how much people are paying in fuel tax.

The stands will sit near the till at petrol stations so that when people get out their wallet they will be reminded – or in some cases told for the first time – that no less than 60% of the money they are handing over will be going straight to the Government. You can see what the stands will look like in picture above, and if you look at today’s Sun, which is backing the campaign, you can see how they were delivered to a variety of forecourts yesterday.

Just like the TPA Tax Buster App released last year or the map showing how excessive motoring taxes affect people across the country, we want to expose the true burden of high taxes in this country to ensure that the public is better informed about where the money is going when they make a transaction .

Once people are aware of just how much they are paying in tax, we believe they will become far more likely to question levels of taxation and also be keener to scrutinise how their money is spent. When it comes to taxes on motoring, for example, it’s not as if the money taken in tax is being spent to the benefit of motorists: of the more than £31 billion raised through Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel tax each year, the Government spends less than £10 billion on roads.

For too long successive governments have seen motorists as a cash cow, full in the knowledge that the car is a necessity for millions of people across the UK, whether it be to go to work, take the children to school or do the weekly shop. Yet whilst the Government opts against taxing certain items it deems as essential like basic foods or children’s clothes, it slaps 60% on petrol and diesel.

The time has come for people to say enough is enough. We are grateful that the Government has stopped or deferred certain rises in fuel tax over the last year or so, but the latest postponement was just that: a 3p rise in fuel tax is still set to come in next January, and that’s before the usual annual post-Budget rise that would come in at the beginning of April.

So if you want to back our campaign for a freeze in fuel tax for the rest of the Parliament, go to, where you can send a message to your local MP to put pressure on the Chancellor to do just that. We’ve successfully stopped these rises before and with your help we can do so again and provide some much needed relief for the hard-pressed and overtaxed motorist.


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