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The new head of the OBR, Robert Chote, said in an interview about a week ago that its analysis
"suggested that a fair fuel stabiliser would be likely to make the public finances less stable rather than more stable".
If a £10 increase in oil prices was passed through, the assumption is that it would add 7.4p per litre at the pump. To offset that would cost £3.7 billion, which is £1.3 billion more than the consequential rise in oil and gas revenues. It might have been a good idea for the Conservative party to carry out that sort of analysis before making promises that it could not keep. All the Economic Secretary has to say today is that the Government will consider the OBR's report.
I also ask the Economic Secretary what conversations she has had with people in the industry about the impact of fuel prices. I have been contacted by the Retail Motor Industry Federation, which tells me that it has written to the Chancellor and Prime Minister four times about the matter recently, with no response at all. It has stated that the Government have
"made no attempt to engage with industry" and that it wants the policy of a stabiliser to be dropped, because it would be
"costly and a huge administrative burden".- [Interruption.]