What happened next? Open letter to Jason McCartney MP: RE Fuel duty lobbying

Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change campaign news banner

In response to the open letter on his lobbying the Chancellor not to raise fuel duty in the Budget, Jason McCartney sent a reply on 15th March in which he invited responses following the final Budget decision (15 3 2016 Jason McCartney’s response to Fuel duty Open Letter).

The following day, the Government unveiled its Budget. In line with lobbying by the Fair Fuel group, the Government decided to freeze Fuel Duty for the sixth year in the Budget of 16.3.16. As Paul Johnson Head of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) explained on the BBC’s World At One on 17.3.16, this means that, “It’s about as cheap as it’s been for a lot more than twenty years to drive because of the low duties and low petrol prices.” [1]

For the reasons outlined in the Open Letter, we believe this is a missed opportunity to raise and target funds in order to mend roads, improve public transport and tackle air pollution.

We’re delighted that in the Budget of 16.3.16, George Osborne imposed a Sugar Tax on fizzy drinks with the dual objective of tackling child obesity by reducing sales and tackling child obesity by providing funds for primary school sports and fitness activities. He said, “I’m not prepared to look back at my time, here in this parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation, “I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with sugary drinks, we knew it caused disease, but we ducked the difficult decisions, and we did nothing.” [2]

The parallels between the Sugar Tax and increasing Fuel Duty are striking. In both cases an increase in price of the commodity would reduce sales, in both cases it would have positive health benefits and in both cases it could provide funding for positive solutions to a national health crisis. Both have also, of course, been vigorously opposed through lobbying by bodies with vested interests. We hope that Jason McCartney will encourage George Osborne to say, in the future, “I’m not prepared to look back at my time, here in this parliament, doing this job and say to my children’s generation, “I’m sorry. We knew there was a problem with air pollution, we knew it caused illness and premature deaths, but we ducked the difficult decisions, and we did nothing.”

A number of signatories of the Open Letter contacted Jason McCartney after the Budget to convey these – or similar – messages. Jason McCartney responded to these follow-up emails on 18th March (18 3 2016 Jason McCartney’s response to signatories’ follow-up responses following Budget Day).

We hope in the future to persuade members of the Fair Fuel group that, in the words of Andrew Allen of the Campaign for Better Transport, “A fuel duty rise in the Budget should not be seen as anti-motorist. Spent in the right way, it could help improve transport for us all.”[3]

 

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0739pgp#play (Listen from 10 minutes 47 seconds- 11 minutes 51 seconds ) Paul Johnson of the IFS says, “Fuel duty is now at their lowest level since the mid-1990s. When you also take account of the low price of oil and the fact that cars are getting more and more efficient, it’s becoming cheaper and cheaper to drive an extra mile. It’s about as cheap as it’s been for a lot more than twenty years to drive because of the low duties and low petrol prices and the Treasury must be beginning to get worried about this. They bring in nearly thirty billion from petrol duties. That’s quite a useful addition to the budget. If this continues not to rise, and it’s beginning to look like it will never go up again, that’s a big hole in the public finances to sort out over the medium term.”

[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/budget-2016-george-osborne-announces-sugar-tax-a6934206.html

[3] http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/blog/better-transport/budget-why-chancellor-should-raise-fuel-duty

 

 

Search tag: ECO*-nomy2016, ECO-nomy2016

 

Advertisements