As Tim Montgomerie has noted, a growing priority for voters is the
"http://conservativehome.blogs.com/thetorydiary/2011/08/call-for-fairer-petrol-prices-from-halfon4harlow-zooms-to-near-top-of-epetitions-website.html">astronomical cost of petrol. In fact,
according to a Populous poll conducted outside the Westminster bubble, people are far more concerned about energy prices than almost any other issue, even public sector spending cuts.
With prices hitting 150p per litre at some garages, many fear that petrol and diesel is becoming part of the poverty trap. For example, in my constituency of Harlow, figures show that the average
motorist is now paying something like £1,700 a year just to fill up the family car. This is a tenth of the average income in our town. Experts have ruled that spending a tenth of your income
to keep warm is classed as fuel poverty. But what about paying a tenth of your income just to drive to work? If you can’t drive to work, how can you get off benefits and into a job? Unless we
act now, energy and transport costs could become a roadblock to the Work Programme and the economy in general.
Given the growing pressures on people’s income, cutting fuel duties must be a priority for the government. That’s why I have teamed up with the FairFuelUK campaign to launch an
e-petition for cheaper petrol and diesel on the Government’s new website. In just a few weeks, it has already clocked up 60,500
signatures. If we get to 100,000, we are likely to secure a debate in Parliament, and keep this issue high up on the coalition’s agenda.
The e-petition itself says:
"High petrol and diesel prices are crippling our economy. Many motorists now pay a tenth of their income just to fill up the family car, and millions of families are suffering.
Businesses are under immense pressure, especially the road freight industry. But petrol and diesel are now so astronomically expensive, it is costing the Government money. This is because fewer
people can afford to drive, leading to lower tax revenues. Therefore, this petition calls on the Government to:
1) Scrap the planned 4p fuel duty increases, which are scheduled for January and August 2012.
2) Create a price stabilisation mechanism that smooths out fluctuations in the pump price.
3) Pressure big oil companies to pass on cheaper oil to motorists.
4) Set up a Commission to look at market competitiveness, and radical ways of cutting fuel taxes in the longer term."
You can sign up here.
Robert Halfon is the Conservative MP for HarlowTags: Coalition, E-petitions, Economy, Employment, Fuel, George Osborne, Petrol, UK politics