The price of petrol/diesel in the UK has risen 60% in six years. A person on the UK average salary will now typically spend one month of their annual take-home pay on fuel. Every penny added to fuel duty adds £500 per year to the cost of running a truck. Therefore, rising fuel prices inflate the cost of everything we consume from food to furniture as well as the services we rely on from public transport to local authority, healthcare and the police. The price of petrol & diesel is now so high as to be a matter of social justice as it denies sections of society access to mobility. The largest element in the cost of a litre of petrol/diesel is tax. The level of combined fuel duty and VAT is approximately 82p per litre approaching 60% of every pound spent filling the tank.
FairFuelUK met its objectives for the period 23/5/2011 to 31/12/2012 in full. As a result, it has had a major impact on every person and business in the UK.
Key results are: The net saving in fuel duty achieved between 23/5/2011 and 31/12/2012 is a saving of 9p per litre on every litre of petrol/diesel sold in the UK. This is the combination of:
- The cancellation of the 5p rise planned for 1st April 2011 (it was replaced by a 1p cut)
- And the deferment of the 3p rise planned for 1st January 2012. to August 2012
- And then the deferment of the 3p rise planned for 1st August 2012 to January 2013
- And then the cancellation of the 3p Fuel Duty Rise in January 2013.
- And now no Fuel Duty review until September 2013
- Motorists also saved the VAT on this 9p making a total saving to motorists of nearly 11p per litre.
- At the Tory Party Conference Mr Osborne said he would freeze Fuel Duty till 2015 making a total saving in this Parliament of about 16p (incl VAT)
These savings amount to £30 Billion in fuel duty and VAT to the UK economy.
The abandonment for the period of this Parliament of the plan to add 1p (known as the escalator) to any further inflationary rise in fuel duty.
Stop any Fuel Duty Rises in this Parliament
Go further and fight to Cut Fuel Duty for the benefit of economic growth – Convince the Govt to recognise that by sensibly controlling fuel duty, it is a growth stimulus not just a Treasury cash cow
Call for inquiries into fuel pricing transparency and oil price speculation
Bring UK petrol and diesel to European Parity in terms of fuel pricing and taxation
Set up a mechanism that is the fairest way to price petrol and diesel for business, the economy and hard pressed motorists
Our strategy had two main components:
- To manage a national campaign under the banner of FairFuelUK with the energy, drive, commitment, information, resources and practical actions that would bring together the UK road freight industry, general UK business and the motoring public into a focussed PR, lobbying and public programme to meet the objectives.
- To seek to produce economic evidence that rising fuel taxes actually harmed the UK economy and the plans for deficit reduction – a key argument in times of poor public finances.
Key points were the need to...
- unite various groups/trade associations from within the road freight industry, general UK business and leading motoring groups (such as the RAC) that had previously never campaigned together on a national issue.
- make the campaign truly national by reaching out to hundreds of thousands of individual members of the public and companies via the internet and social networking platforms.
How we did it (and are doing it)
1. Developed a purpose built and interactive website as the focal point of the campaign providing contextual support with frequent blog posts and reports, acting as the instrument for supporters to take the activities needed. www.fairfueluk.com visitor numbers currently annualising at 1.2 million visits per year and growing.
2. Created profiles and controversy content on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, updated regularly and incorporated within the main website to drive traffic to sign up and support.
3. Secured the commitment of high profile motoring journalist and commentator Quentin Willson (see photo) as both the face and voice of the campaign, attending party conferences, speaking in debates on transport issues and writing regular blogs and articles about the campaign. A committed activist for the cause, not a celebrity endorsement. In part helped drive 70% of visitors to www.fairfueluk.com via his FFUK blog.
Secured the commitment of Robert Halfon MP to launch one of the first ever Government ePetition, which subsequently achieved over 100,000 signatures (see e-petition) in just six weeks, triggering the crucial debate in parliament before the Chancellor’s Autumn statement. Other political activity included
- Establishing a House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Chaired by Robert Halfon MP
- Holding several parliamentary receptions in the House of Commons to brief and challenge MPs
- A Westminster Hall debate in advance of the March 2011 Budget
5. Distributed text and materials that enabled supporters to lobby politicians. We utilised a sophisticated on-line campaign platform that enabled us to involve tens of thousands of people to help lobby MPs at critical stages. In the days before the FairFuelUK debate held just weeks before the Chancellor’s 2011 Autumn Statement MPs received more than 20,000 emails from constituents (FairFuelUK Supporters) urging them to speak, attend and vote for the motion in the debate.
6. Public events to generate discussion, create content for online distribution and sustain momentum including:
- Pulling a truck down Whitehall to symbolise the difficulty of operating a road freight company with ever rising levels of fuel duty
- Pushing a car to the door of 10 Downing Street to symbolise the suffering of families
- Unfurling a giant banner outside the Treasury with a graphic that showed the enormous percentage of the cost of a litre of fuel taken in tax
- Sending every MP symbolic cheques explaining how much an average motorist was having to pay in fuel duty and VAT on petrol/diesel
- Many more media attractive activities
7. Achieved blanket media coverage at the pinch points of the campaign with a ‘full-house’ of:
- TV (BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, regional BBC and ITV)
- Radio news (BBC Radios 1,2,4,5-live and all BBC local radio), radio programmes (World At One, You and Yours, Today, PM, World Tonight, panel and discussion programmes including 5-live ), Commercial radio including Captial FM, LBC, TalkSport
- Print articles in every national newspaper with editorial leads and invitations to write the ‘Comment’ sections in the Daily Express
- Online coverage in blogs and forums with over 10 million interactions achieved to date
- Conducted the largest ever UK survey of how petrol/diesel prices were affecting families and businesses.
- 29,000 responded to the public survey and 3,700 to the business survey.
- Commissioned the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and (NIESR) to produce a report showing that rising fuel duty damaged the UK economy and deficit reduction plans.
8. Build mass support. Our combined on line and paper sign ups (as at Dec 1st) = 340,000+ - 55% individual members of the public, 45% businesses.