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[Un-allotted Half Day] — Fuel Costs

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 7th February 2011.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie SNP Chief Whip, SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 4:31 pm, 7th February 2011

I beg to move,

That this House
notes that the oil price has reached $100 a barrel, and that diesel in the UK is the most expensive in Europe;
further notes that the combination of the 1 January 2011 duty rise and the increase in value added tax is estimated to have added 3.5 pence to the cost of a litre of fuel;
acknowledges the sharp rises in fuel prices over the past year and the resulting impact on headline inflation figures;
recognises the financial pressure this places on hard-pressed families and businesses already struggling with high inflation and the impact of the recent rise in value added tax;
condemns the Government's continued dithering over the implementation of a fuel duty regulator (or stabiliser) as neither a sustainable or stable way to make tax policy;
further recognises the specific additional fuel costs for those living in remote and rural parts of the UK;
is concerned that diesel in such places is approaching £7 per gallon;
condemns the Government for its failure to prioritise the implementation of a fuel duty derogation;
and calls for the introduction of a fuel duty derogation to the most remote areas at the earliest opportunity.

The issue of high and spiking fuel prices is one of major concern around the country, as we can witness from the campaigns run by national and local newspapers and by campaign groups local and national the length and breadth of the country. Those campaigns-my favourite is the "fight for fairer fuel" run by The Courier-are not driving public opinion but reflecting it.

I was taken by the front page of the newspaper a week or so ago, which stated, "Osborne 'may override 1p fuel duty increase'". The Chancellor had clearly been listening to some of the concerns that had been expressed. The newspaper went on to report that when he was asked on a local radio station if he could do anything about fuel duty, he said:

"We can over-ride it, we are looking at that."

He also seemed to confirm that Ministers were looking into a fuel duty stabiliser so that, as he said,

"the Government steps in to try to protect people from the effects" of volatility at the pumps.