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Government urged to set up fuel pump pricing watchdog

Howard Cox

What we pay to fill up our cars vans and trucks isn’t regulated at all. And having no government overseer or impartial pricing body means that how, when and why forecourt prices rise, and fall remains a closely guarded secret. Howard Cox, Founder – FairFuelUK.

FairFuelUK along with hundreds of MPs and their constituents want this to change. We’re recommending an independent PumpWatch body to ensure everybody understands how road fuels are priced and that the 37 million drivers in the UK get the fairest and most transparent deal possible.

For example, nearly 5p per litre of wholesale falls have not been passed onto drivers at the pumps in the last few months. Equivalent to opportunistic profiteering by fuel supply chain businesses of £14m each day. That’s what hard pressed motorists are forking out in extra cash, to line the pockets of greedy speculators, wholesalers and oil companies.

FairFuelUK founder Howard Cox said: “The pump price lottery game continues to go unconstrained. Hard pressed motorists, hauliers and van drivers haven’t a clue when oil prices change, what they will pay when filling up at the pumps. The one certainty though, the maverick fuel supply chain sees their profits rocket, everyday rubbing salt into the wounds of the already highest taxed drivers in the world. A PumpWatch price monitoring watchdog, like OfCom, OfWat and OfGem is critical for honest and fair prices at the pumps.

Ex-Minister Mr Robert Halfon MP said: “Oil fat-cats are ripping off motorists and taking them for fuels. They are behaving worse than bankers. It’s time for a new regulator to ensure a fair deal for hard-working motorists.”

Had the fuel duty escalator continued as planned from 2011 onwards, this levy today would be 83.33 pence per litre rather than 57.95 pence per litre, 43.8 percent higher. We estimate that this would mean pump prices around £1.70 plus. What would that cost of filling up have done to our economy, small businesses and more importantly, those real people who are ‘just about managing’?

AND why is it, the whole of the developed world puts lower fuel duty onto diesel and therefore is always cheaper than petrol? Those administrations, unlike here in the UK, recognise the commercial heartbeat of the economy is haulage and distribution.

Our Treasury instead, sees all drivers as pure cash cows.  Here in Blighty, diesel tax is 60 percent, with France 58.5 percent, Germany 51.8 percent and little old Luxembourg at just 44.1 percent.
Our 57.95p per litre in fuel duty level towers over Australia’s 21p and the US’s at 10.4p per litre.

Why are UK drivers so punished by our Government that claims to believe in low taxes as a way to stimulate the economy? Howard Cox said: “Sadly, despite the very welcome hold in fuel duty, this Government still does not get it. Mrs. May’s reason for continuing the freeze was down to rocketing oil prices. Yes, that’s right, it’s not being held, for economic proven common sense to boost the economy and help hard-pressed drivers.

No! It was frozen again because OPEC and those faceless gluttonous oil speculators are getting even richer day by day, all by cartel styled stage-managing of the markets. And as a result, the Chancellor enjoys a cash bonanza in increased VAT revenue too!. Maybe thats why he is shy to reduce fuel duty.”

The Chancellor’s department published in 2014, that reductions in fuel duty will increase GDP by 0.5 percent and as such, more tax will be gleaned from increased company profits, wages and consumption. Yes, you got it, all adding to higher tax revenues!

Staggeringly it now seems, in Philip Hammond’s response to Robert Halfon MP at Treasury Questions, his own department’s dynamic modelling forecast has NOW become obsolete and inexplicably dismissed by the very Ministry experts that produced it!

So, let the Treasury NOW make it clear that Fuel Duty will not rise in the lifetime of this parliament, or as a result of a confused Brexit deal. In fact, cut this levy on the highest taxed drivers in the world to stimulate the economy.

FairFuelUK conducted the biggest survey in the recent history of transport. 71,000 responded in September and October. And what they told FairFuelUK, is a wake-up call for this fragile Government.

90 percent regard their vehicle as critical to their daily lives with 67 percent saying they have categorically no choice but to use it every day. Those on low incomes, less than £20,000, say they have no alternative but to spend up to a quarter of their hard-earned cash on petrol and diesel. The emphasis here is ‘no alternative!’

87 percent in the survey said, fuel duty should not be raised to help fund the extra £20bn promised by the government for the NHS!!!! Thankfully Mrs. May did listen, albeit for party political popularity. In contrast, the Treasury’s disingenuous and doctrinally motivated leak to the media a few months back, added more worrying salt to the already suppurative wounds of drivers.

Ways to raise cash for the NHS
We asked the 66,000 ‘anti-hike in duty’ survey respondents, what ways they suggest the government should indeed raise the promised extra NHS cash.

75 percent said, make Amazon, Facebook, Google, Starbucks, Cadburys & similar corps pay the appropriate tax in the UK. 6 out of 10 want NHS bureaucracy reduced, better procurement of supplies and HS2 to be scrapped. Followed closely by ditching overseas aid to rich countries like China and India.

Common sense, and hugely popular, vote winning ways to help fund our National Health treasure. Despite this good judgment from the electorate, we heard from credible sources, the Chancellor remained hell bent on hitting the easiest of targets hard, drivers. We are very grateful for Mrs. May’s intervention to stop his foolish economic plans that would have been political suicide for the Conservative Party

Our survey also revealed that Mr. Hammond is regarded as the most out-of-touch politician in the country, just above their detestation for the London Mayor.

We are not here to declare war on the Treasury, but to many of us it feels like the Treasury, along with the Department for Environment, are waging war on drivers, bikers and anyone who uses a van or lorry.

98 percent of our economy is delivered by truck. The Haulage industry operates on wafer thin margins. Yet the Chancellor’s perennial regressive levy policies could cost jobs, push up inflation, reduce consumer spending and slow GDP growth. All based on his high tax policies.

It is essential he looks at road pricing strategies for the future. The lack of a road pricing policy in any shape and form shows how clueless our politicos are. Always responding too late and invariable getting it wrong.

The Fuel Duty cash cow bandwagon is coming to a rapid end, so it’s more than critical that £35bn of annual duty and VAT are protected now, not when it’s too late as technology supersedes the internal combustion engine for good. Working with FairFuelUK to produce a long-term viable road funding plan would be hell of a start and hugely popular.

Instead of being influenced by his tax payer funded SPADs, that wallow in ignorant doctrine, he must listen to the advice of the real people, the electorate, who pay 60 percent to 70 percent tax to the Exchequer every time they fill up. Oh, we must not forget that immoral double taxation of the VAT on the duty they pay too. How can that be right and fair?

Mr Hammond, please have the guts to put more money into all our pockets and watch the economy rocket, instead of the continual uncertainty at the pumps at every Budget Cycle whether fuel duty will rise. Put certainty into the economy not worry.

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