Fair Fuel March 2017

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding fuel price regulation and transparency, and investment in roads, and the related campaign by FairFuelUK.

I appreciate that high fuel prices are having a serious impact on household budgets and businesses in our area and across the country. The price of a litre of petrol or diesel was around 20p higher in February 2017 than in the same month last year. 

I am aware that the online petition calling for a new 'Pump-Watch' regulator to monitor and regulate vehicle fuel pricing has attracted significant support. I know the petition's supporters will be disappointed that the Government has said it is against the idea. However, should the petition reach 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

It is important to ensure competition is working and that falls in the price of oil are reflected in the price we pay at the pump. I know this is a cause of real frustration for motorists and I believe that further action is needed, and that a review of how to best stabilise fuel pricing would be sensible. 

Whilst fuel duty did not change in the Spring Budget, I appreciate that concerns were raised by FairFuelUK and others about the Government's commitment to review the tax treatment for diesel vehicles before the Autumn Budget. I will follow this review closely. 

You also raised the important issue of investment in roads. I appreciate the ongoing concerns there are about the general state of the road network, the backlog of repairs and the cost of bringing these up to standard. The UK has been ranked behind 26 other countries on road quality and I am concerned, that despite Government promises of investment in our major roads, very little of this work has been started. 

At the last election I stood on a manifesto which pledged to support long-term investment in strategic roads and address the neglect of local roads, and I will continue to support these priorities. 

Thank you for also bringing to my attention the Vehicle Fuel (Publication of Tax Information) Bill which was presented to Parliament on 1 February. The Bill was scheduled to have its second reading on 24 March but unfortunately has now been pushed back until 12 May. While Private Members' Bills are not often successful, they are a very good way for individual MPs to raise issues. The Government has said it has no plans to change the law so that taxes are displayed on fuel purchase receipts. However, I will follow the Bill's progress. 

Thank you once again for taking the time to bring your views to my attention.