Fuel prices have hit record highs, sparking fresh protests against fuel duty. Average petrol prices currently stand at 137.97ppl and 145.07ppl for diesel, with experts predicting they will continue to rise.
The pressure group FairFuelUK organised a mass lobby of Parliament yesterday (7 March), with 300 people taking part. The group entered Parliament to lobby MPs face to face and deliver a report to No.10 written by the independent Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The CEBR used the Government's own economic model to assess the impact of cutting fuel duty by 2.5p and found it would boost the economy and create 180,000 new jobs.
The Government plans to increase fuel duty by 3 pence per litre in August this year, deferred from January 2012. But when Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom was asked during a TV debate with FairFuel's Lynne Beaumont, if the Government had modelled the impact of a 3p increase to duty, Leadsom responded: "Of course not."
Leadsom did leave the Government some room for manoeuvre, however, saying: “We don’t know what the Chancellor actually intends to do in the budget, it may well be that he has something up his sleeve in terms of fuel duty.”
FairFuelUK don't expect a formal response from the Government to their mass lobby but hope MPs, who have all been sent a copy of the report, will persuade the Chancellor to act.
There’s been no talk of direct action, last seen on a large scale in September 2000. Then, oil refineries and distribution depots were blockaded after petrol reached 80ppl, resulting in the end of the Labour Government’s fuel duty escalator.
Industry analysts predict global factors mean prices will keep rising. Retail Motor Industry, Chairman for Petrol, Brian Madderson, said: “There is more grim news ahead as a perfect storm of rising crude oil prices, closing refineries and increased tensions in the Middle East, mean that by Easter we could see diesel and petrol prices going even higher.”
An inflationary rise, also planned for August 2012 and estimated by the AA to amount to an additional 5ppl, was cancelled in the Chancellor’s Autumn statement.