Fuel duty has been branded a “stealth tax” by a Tory MP demanding more transparency for motorists.
Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow in Essex, has proposed a new law that would see petrol and diesel receipts display the duty paid and show how much of that money will be spent on the roads.
“Taxes should be clear to those paying them,” he told the Commons.
Halfon claimed the average family in Harlow now spends a tenth of its income on fuel – more than its weekly shop. “They face petrol and diesel poverty, and have a right to know why their bills are so high,” he said.
He told the Commons that “fuel duty was never meant to be a millstone around our necks.” And went on to add: “The history of car taxation is a textbook case of how a tax becomes entrenched,” explaining that when duty was first introduced in 1909, the money raised was ring-fenced and used exclusively for the roads.
“However, through the 1920s the road fund was repeatedly raided to prop up the Treasury, and from 1937 it was treated as a general tax.”
Halfon said that greater transparency would act as a deterrent to stop Governments hiking fuel duty without good reason. And that it would make it easier to hold big oil companies to account.