Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

[Un-allotted Half Day] — Fuel Costs

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 7th February 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Justine Greening Justine Greening The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 5:00 pm, 7th February 2011

I think that I have been very clear on that. In opposition and in government, we have always recognised the impact on motorists of the unstable oil price, which feeds through to pump prices. In setting up a stabiliser, we need to ensure that it works as intended, so the first step was to ask the Office for Budget Responsibility to look at how oil prices feed into the economy and affect public finances. We have commissioned that work, as the hon. Lady will know, and now need to take on board its outcomes before looking at how it feeds into policy making. It would not be right to pre-empt the Budget. Indeed, when the hon. Member for Dundee East was asked for further details, he said that he needed some time, which indicates that this is a complex policy area-too complicated for the Labour party when it was in government.

In conclusion, we want to treat motorists fairly, but we must also act responsibly by ensuring that we tackle our record national debt and the financial deficit, which will not be easy. I will not hide from the House the fact that that is a difficult balance to strike, so difficult that the previous Government chose to ignore it completely. That is also the approach they have adopted for tackling the deficit, offering no credible alternatives to our policies and, in the case of fuel duty, no viable alternatives to their own policies, because it is their fuel duty escalator that is causing the problems.

Once again, it has been left to the coalition Government to clear up the mess left by the Labour Government and look at how we can reach a fair resolution on fuel duty, get our economy back on its feet and support our businesses, families and, in this case, motorists. I look forward to the rest of the debate and hope that we can have an open and honest discussion on the problems faced by motorists across the country and possible solutions. I look forward to hearing from Members in the run-up to this year's Budget what they think is the best way forward.