The next PM needs to get tough on rip-off fuel prices or face Canada-style direct action from fed-up motorists

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The next PM needs to get tough on rip-off fuel prices or face Canada-style direct action from fed-up motorists

EVERY motorist knows fuel prices go up like a rocket but come down like a feather. So yesterday’s report by the competition watchdog finding “ca

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EVERY motorist knows fuel prices go up like a rocket but come down like a feather.

So yesterday’s report by the competition watchdog finding “cause for concern” in the growing gap between the prices of crude oil and the fuel on forecourts was hardly a surprise.

Reuters

If we don’t do anything about the cost of petrol and diesel soon, we will face a Canada-style haulier demonstration[/caption]

AFP

When Boris Johnson appeared before the House of Commons’ Liaison Committee this week, I questioned the PM about pump prices[/caption]

There are piles of evidence already that oil companies are ripping us off at the pumps. Now the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it will launch a further study into fuel prices and report in the autumn.

But there is no need for more reviews, everyone knows what the problem is.

Drivers are not only being fleeced by the Government, with high fuel taxes, but by oil companies too. It is time to actually do something for the hardworking people of Britain.

The Government must slash either VAT or fuel duty — and ensure the cut is passed on to motorists.

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Anguished parent

There should be three words on any Tory leadership candidate’s lips this morning: “Canada, Canada, Canada.”

The reason? If we don’t do anything about the cost of petrol and diesel soon, we will face a Canada-style haulier demonstration, as happened this year in the capital, Ottawa.

Trucks surrounded the parliament building and refused to move for weeks.

We have already seen some of this here, with the demonstrations on our motorways last week. If something is not done, similarly disruptive demos are going to spread like wildfire across the country.


To be clear, I am against direct action and anything that inconveniences people trying to get on with their lives. But I have absolute sympathy for the protesters’ aims, which is simply to cut the cost of fuel at the pumps.

These small-van drivers and hauliers are struggling to make enough money to feed their families and keep their businesses afloat.

Yet it is not just businesses hit by soaring prices at the pumps but ordinary people up and down the land.

In my Essex constituency of Harlow, an anguished single parent told me she could not afford to go to work because she didn’t have the money to pay the extra cost of petrol.

Instead of spending money on frontline nurses and doctors, the NHS is having to spend extra millions on filling up ambulances. Instead of officers on the beat, police forces are paying for increased fuel costs for their vehicles.

Whichever way you look, people are being hammered by extra fuel costs, adding to the cost-of-living crisis.


Robert Halfon

Whichever way you look, people are being hammered by extra fuel costs, adding to the cost-of-living crisis. Food and drink, including staples such as bread, pasta and coffee, is getting more expensive.

Why? In part because the cost of transportation and energy has gone up. Rampant fuel prices are feeding inflation, in turn pushing many to demand higher wages.

It is a vicious circle. Currently, the cost of petrol is approaching £1.91 and for diesel, more than £1.98. For many people, the increased cost is crippling.

The average family is paying £16 more to fill up their tank than a year ago.

Hauliers are forking out £120 more to fill up compared to February.

For working white-van men and women, it is costing an additional £25 to fill up. One mum even told me that she was considering home-schooling her child as she could not afford the cost of the school run any more.

With petrol prices here currently 20p a litre more than the average across 35 European countries, and diesel costing 25p higher, more must be done NOW to help those in need.

According to the RAC Foundation and pressure group FairFuelUK, average profit margins for diesel have increased by 150 per cent in the past two years, with petrol margins more than doubling.

Fair deal

The £37billion cost-of-living package implemented by the Government, as well as the 5p fuel duty cut, are welcome steps. But people are still struggling.

When Boris Johnson appeared before the House of Commons’ Liaison Committee this week, I questioned the PM about pump prices.

I urged him to slash fuel costs and, as FairFuelUK has suggested, create a watchdog akin to the energy regulator Ofgem.

The new body would regulate forecourt prices and ensure that drivers get a fair deal. What is certain is that for the sake of businesses, services and ordinary people trying to go about their daily lives, this madness at the pumps cannot carry on.

As the PM seems likely to remain in office for some weeks yet, it is of huge concern that he has said there will be no major policy changes.

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We need an urgent statement from new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi — before the House of Commons goes into recess for summer — setting out what he will do to transform this situation.

The livelihoods and wellbeing of millions depend on it.

PA

We need an urgent statement from new Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi setting out what he will do to transform this situation[/caption]

The Government must slash either VAT or fuel duty — and ensure the cut is passed on to motorists, writes Robert Halfon
Rex Features

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