It is great to see that Rob Halfon is launching a major new campaign on fuel prices, and has secured a debate in Parliament. He is absolutely right that they are a heavy burden, particularly in suburban and rural areas where lower population densities mean public transport networks will never be dense enough to constitute a convenient alternative to the car. There are a few points worth adding:
- High rates of Fuel Duty can't be justified to try and address potential climate change. Our research at the TaxPayers' Alliance has found UK motorists pay almost £18 billion a year in excessive motoring taxes.
- If the Conservatives want to fight for a majority, then they should look to bring down fuel prices. Back in March 2008 we looked at the census statistics and found that people in marginal constituencies were more likely to drive to work.
The political and economic case against high rates of Fuel Duty is compelling. Small and medium sized enterprises around the country, in regions like the Midlands which have had a particularly tough time in the recession, will welcome lower costs to deliver goods and services. The Government's cut at the Budget was great, even though sadly the North Sea tax that paid for it is likely to mean shooting ourselves in the foot, but Rob is absolutely right that it needs to be followed up with at least a freeze for the rest of this Parliament.