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By a Newsnet reporter

Commenting on the mass lobby of the House of Commons by Fair Fuel campaigners on Wednesday, the SNP called on the Chancellor to fulfil his pre-election pledge and introduce a fuel duty regulator in the Budget.

The SNP have consistently called for the introduction of a regulator which would cut fuel duty when prices spike unexpectedly, freezing the price at the pump.

Hundreds of protesters took their campaign for fuel duty cuts to Parliament.  Organised by the FairFuelUK group, the protest included the delivery of a key report to 10 Downing Street.  The report, by the the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), provided evidence that even a small cut in fuel duty, by just 2.5p per litre, could create 180,000 new jobs.

FairFuelUK founder Peter Carroll said: “It may have been wet today but we have been heartened by the fact that hundreds have joined our protest.

“We are hopeful that Chancellor George Osborne will see sense and cut fuel duty in his Budget.”

Geoff Dunning, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, said: “The findings of this report prove, without shadow of a doubt, that there is an achievable solution to regaining at least some stability as regards fuel prices.”

The protest came after the latest figures showed new record highs for petrol and diesel at the pumps, with petrol having reached 137.79p a litre and diesel 144.92p.

Another report last week showed that UK drivers were paying the highest fuel taxes in Europe.

SNP Westminster Transport spokesperson Angus MacNeil MP said:

“The size of this lobby underlines the scale of concern at soaring fuel prices. The country is crying out for action to bring down fuel prices, and the Chancellor should use the up-coming Budget to honour his pre-election pledge and establish a fuel duty regulator.

“It’s a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying the highest fuel prices in Europe. With the bulk of the pump price made up of tax, the Treasury must stop this highway robbery because soaring fuel prices are hindering economic recovery.

“In July 2008, George Osborne launched plans for a Fair Fuel Stabiliser, describing it as a ‘common sense plan’. As well as being common sense, it is unanswerable and fair for Scotland, given that we pay among the highest fuel prices in Europe even as Scottish oil revenues surge into the UK Exchequer. The problem with the Tories plan is that they launched a dangerous smash and grab raid on the North Sea to pay for it, which was the wrong thing to do.

“With record North Sea oil and gas revenues flowing to the Treasury, we need to see some of that money used to bring fuel prices down – and to keep them stable – through a fuel duty regulator.

“The SNP have consistently called for the introduction of a fuel duty regulator, in contrast the only measure Labour introduced was the fuel price escalator that increased the misery for motorists.

“The Tories and LibDems promised action before the election. They have the money – Scotland’s oil money – and the powers to deliver.

“If Westminster will not act, the powers should be passed to the Scottish Parliament so that it can. If Scotland had control of fuel duty, the SNP government would introduce a fuel duty regulator to lower prices now.”


2012-03-08 08:05

I believe the fuel price escalator was introduced by the Tories originally. Labour, as usual, were enthusiastic adopters of this Tory policy.
2012-03-08 08:32

Last night Brent Crude was trading just shy of $125 a barrel and the dollar pound stable at $1.58. Oil has risen 10% in the last month but will quadruple when the Iranian situation explodes.
With +60% tax on petrol the effects to rural Scotland will be devastating as who there could afford 2.50 – 3.00 per litre. The crazy levels of tax on this volatile world commodity crucifies business and adds immeasurably to the cost of living as almost everything goes by road these days.
2012-03-08 08:39

I’m lurking a bit on Huffington Post these days.

Our cousins across the pond are bitching that when Obama took office, petrol was $1-85 a gallon and is now an atrocious $3 a gallon.

Once the conversions are all worked out, our equivalent for petrol is $8-30 a US Gallon.

They can’t believe that we put up with 60% tax.

Neither can I.
Vincent McDee
2012-03-08 10:14

It wasn’t going to happen, Osborne is of fixed mind, and now even less, if they’ve noticed the SNP is supporting the Fair Fuel Campaign.

They just can’t stand to look like they’ve caved-in to its demands, and they’ll never admit is Scottish oil paying.

By the time of the Referendum, the petrol and diesel prices we pay now are going to be but a happy memory of previous “good times”.

And if the Israelis do Iran….
2012-03-08 10:20

Quoting Vincent McDee:

Osborne is of fixed mind, and now even less,



desert teuchter
2012-03-08 10:18

Just yesterday, I had a client here (Dubai) asking me why petrol costs so much in Scotland, given that it (like the UAE) is an oil producing nation. We pay the equivalent of 28p/litre here – the most expensive in the Gulf! – and just last week, a cabinet minister proposed reducing the price by 60% or so, to bring us more in line with neighbouring countries.

(First post by a long-time lurker here – although have been avidly forwarding NNS articles to friends/family back in Scotland via email/Facebook. Coincidentally, I was at uni with Jack McConnell (who was president of the uni students’ union), Tommy Sheridan (president of the uni sports union) and Eric Joyce (who was a Tory and member of the OTC). Like many of my coursemates, I left Scotland upon graduation in 1985 – employment prospects during the Thatcher era were grim – and have lived Asia/the Middle East ever since. Hoping to move back home in time for independence though!)
2012-03-08 16:05

Welcome to the site.
2012-03-08 16:14

Welcome along dt.

I think it’s good for us to have posters who have moved abroad and can give us an insight from a distance as it were. I’m sure many living in Dubai think our petrol prices are absolutely crazy as we are an oil producing company.

I know speaking to friends around the world, in Oz, New Zealand, Canada and much of Europe, they mainly despair at the UK – one of the most heavily indebted countries in the world, still trying to be a big boy by spending too much on defence whilst taxing people to the hilt. They genuinely don’t understand what the UK is doing and not one of them would think of either returning or moving to these shores.

2012-03-08 20:09

To be honest, I think the SNP are grandstanding a bit on this.

Lower fuel prices would be popular with almost all voters. The state, however, needs its revenue from fuel tax.

I understand the plight of rural/remote people/entrepreneurs where cars (vans, lorries) really are the only option, due to the lack of any public transport. But the people who’re grumblig the most, or whose voice is heard the most, are the fairly well-off middle suburban classes in their SUVs. The electorate most of the political parties are keen to capture.

Tax fuel at the pump to the hilt but let rural people, hauliers, claim back part of the tax. It can’t be that difficult.

O/T, I remember a trip to northern Norway in 2000. Beautiful scenery and great hillwalking, but prohibitevely expensive. Every downhill, I ran the car on neutral to conserve fuel until we got across the border back to Finland, the land of cheap fuel, cheap beer and cheap pizza! Before my experience in Norway, I hadn’t thought fuel/beer/pizza was paticularly cheap in Finland, but having been up there, I understand why Norwegians come to Finland to shop, to have their pints of beer and to fill up their cars.

It’s curious that the two European countries with the most oil, Norway and the UK, have the most expensive petrol/diesel at the pump.

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