Call to abandon 3p fuel duty increase

UPPER Bann MP David Simpson has called upon the Prime Minister to abandon the Government’s plans for a 3p increase in Fuel Duty planned for August.

Mr Simpson made the call at Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament. “Recently the Prime Minister admitted that the Government had made an important mistake in the handling of the recent fuel crisis,” he said.

“It would be a positive step towards correcting that mistake if the Government was to scrap the 3p increase in Fuel Duty planned for August in order to help motorists, haulage companies and hard pressed families right across the United Kingdom.

“Whilst people across the country are clearly demanding that the Government takes action on crippling fuel prices, it is absolutely critical for Northern Ireland. Banbridge motorists are being hit with a double whammy. We have additional car parking charges imposed by the DRD Minister accompanied by runaway costs including higher insurance premiums and the ongoing state of affairs in which Northern Ireland motorists pay the petrol highest prices in Europe.

“We have had confirmation that the United Kingdom has slipped back into recession and a reduction in fuel duty could actually help to stimulate the kind of economic growth we need to move towards recovery. Not only would a reduction in Duty reduce one of the major bills faced by businesses, but in Northern Ireland the level of Fuel Duty leads to £200-£300 million being lost to the Exchequer due to our land border. A reduction in Fuel Duty in Northern Ireland could actually help to increase the overall take to HM Treasury.

“There have been numerous calls from right across Parliament for the Government to take action on this issue yet to date they have been ignored. Hard-pressed Banbridge families, unable to ignore the effects that spiralling fuel bills are having on their lives, need the PM to make this kind of move.”