Tory MPs call on Jeremy Hunt to cut fuel tax in autumn Budget

Former frontbenchers called on the chancellor to stop ‘eye-watering’ fuel levels

Thomas Kingsley
Thursday 17 November 2022 00:22 GMT
Britain Earns Shell
Britain Earns Shell (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

More than 23 Conservative MPs have signed a letter urging Jeremy Hunt to cut fuel tax in Thursday’s autumn Budget.

Among the MPs calling for the “critical” intervention to be included in the long-awaited fiscal statement, is former home secretary Priti Patel, 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady and former Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis.

Led by former education minister Jonathan Gullis, the letter opens: “My fellow MPs and I want to see fuel duty cut to stimulate growth, but at least frozen at the current level for the lifetime of this parliament.”

It continues: “As you know, a major influence on rising inflation is the increasing fuel costs for transport, delivery and logistics. We have seen record high prices in filling up at the pumps in the last 12 months, and despite a strengthening pound and significant wholesale falls in recent weeks, petrol is still 22p/litre higher than back in January.”

The MP quoted campaign group Fair Fuel UK which according to its latest survey found that of 70,000 road users, 25 per cent have reduced their normal driving habits “considerably” due to higher pump prices, while three out of four drivers said they had no choice but to continue driving their normal mileage amid the cost hike.

Jonathan Gullis called on Mr Hunt to meet with him and Fair Fuel UK founder, Howard Cox, to discuss “the blatant unchecked profiteering in the fuel supply chain”.

Howard Cox called for the chancellor to “wake up to the reality and be a real Tory.”

“It does not take a genius to recognise that more money in all our pockets is the route forward out of this needless recession and to pay down the nation’s debt. The deluded and arrogant belief that spending trillions will halt climate change should be dumped for a sound sensible fiscal stimulus to consumer spending,” Mr Cox said.

An RAC survey found the UK languishes near the bottom of a ranking of European countries for action taken to ease the burden of high fuel prices.

Only Luxembourg has done less than the UK government out of 13 European nations that have cut petrol taxes since prices began to soar in March.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “This analysis lays bare an uncomfortable truth for the UK government – that compared to other European countries, it’s pretty much done the least to support drivers through the current period of record high fuel prices.

“The result is the UK being one of the most expensive places to fill up and putting it above other countries that have historically charged more for fuel than UK retailers do, including France and the Netherlands.”

The letter to Jeremy Hunt said fuel prices in UK “have reached eye-watering levels”, adding that small businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

“The commercial heartbeat of any economy depends on diesel,” the letter read.

Chancellor Mr Hunt has said he will make “tough but necessary decisions on tax and spending” in his autumn Budget after it was revealed on Wednesday that soaring food and energy price have driven UK inflation to a 40-year high of 11.1 per cent.

It comes as a leading business group warned that Britain’s economy is facing a “lethal combination of recession and runaway inflation” without intervention in tomorrow’s budget.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) called on Mr Hunt to take targeted measures to ease inflation and boost growth in his autumn statement on Thursday.

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