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Commons debate unites MPs in call for fuel duty cut

16 November, 2011

MPs voted unanimously to pass a motion demanding that the government puts the two fuel duty rises planned for January and August next year on the back burner.

The backbench debate united all political parties with more than 100 MPs calling on the government to consider the feasibility of a price stabilisation mechanism that would work alongside the fair fuel stabiliser to address fluctuations in the pump price.

The House of Commons debate was triggered by a FairFuelUK e-petition, which reached more than 100,000 signatures.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who led the debate, said: “This House welcomes the 1p cut in fuel duty at the 2011 Budget, the abolition of the fuel tax escalator, the establishment of a fair fuel stabiliser; however, believes that high fuel prices are causing immense difficulties for small and medium-sized enterprises vital to economic recovery... and calls on the government to consider the effect that increased taxes on fuel will have on the economy, examine ways of working with industry to ensure that falls in oil prices are passed on to consumers, to take account of market competitiveness, and to consider the feasibility of a price stabilisation mechanism that would work alongside the fair fuel stabiliser to address fluctuations in the pump price."

Alan Reid, Lib Dem MP for Argyll and Bute, said: “The government have scheduled a fuel duty increase for January, because it was hoped at the time of the Budget that prices would have decreased by then. Prices show no sign of coming down, however, so I hope that the government will listen to everyone who has signed the motion and spoken in the debate, and not proceed with the January fuel duty increase.

Meanwhile, RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson gave a record number of media interviews yesterday, as more than 100 MPs debated fuel prices in the House of Commons.

As well as two national TV interviews with BBC News and Sky News, plus two national radio interviews, Madderson gave put forward the views of fuel retailers to eight regional radio stations.

“It’s been a great opportunity to put forward our views and so it’s been terrific from that point of view,” he said. “On a scale of one to 10 I would give the debate eight or nine because it gave us the opportunity to highlight what we’re doing for independents.”

Commenting on the Commons debate, Madderson added: “It was great that there was a backbench debate; great that it was cross party and all speaking with the same voice; great that Robert Halfon mentioned Brian Madderson and RMI Petrol; and great that he also mentioned that we would be going to the OFT under the Enterprise Act 2002, looking at the various issues relating to fuel prices.

“It was very useful and very timely and obviously attracted huge media interest, resulting in my 'world record' of interviews.”

Madderson has pledged to keep up pressure on Chancellor George Osborne in advance of his Autumn Statement on November 29, in a bid to ensure that the two fuel duty increases planned for January and August next year are postponed.