FairFuelUK APPG MPs Reception & No 10 Petition

Braking point SERIOUS politicians know Britain must stop the small boats, via a robust and uncompromising deterrent. And that as long as France refuses to take illegal migrants back, no solution will be simple. Rishi Sunak’s “Strasbourg Brake” is a laudable attempt to change the game. By bypassing the European Convention on Human Rights his law will ensure no illegal arrival ever gets asylum, that deportations happen in days and that loopholes cynically used by human rights lawyers are closed. It also increases legal routes for genuine refugees — which is fair, though those must be watertight against cheats. Our confidence there is not high. Labour MPs brand all this a “gimmick” because they have nothing useful to say on this scandal, nor a policy to end it. Most still believe all migrants to be war refugees even when it is laughably false. The public wants this flagrant abuse of our borders to end even if Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, Twitter and leftie lawyers oppose anything to ensure it. The PM will need steel to get it through Westminster and the courts. Most voters will be cheering him on. Ship of fuels HOW often do Treasury officials fill up their car? Once a month? Less? They get the Tube to work — and doubtless imagine the rest of Britain catches a bus or train too. Which may be why they have so little idea how hard a fuel duty rise will hit the vast majority beyond the M25 who rely on their motor every day for work. In London just 27 per cent commute by car. That percentage is in the 70s almost everywhere else. In the Midlands it’s 80. In Wales, 81. For years The Sun has successfully campaigned to freeze fuel duty — a tax which damages the economy and hammers skint families, especially now with pump prices still at ruinous highs. Jeremy Hunt must not be the first Chancellor in a decade to surrender to well-heeled officials who think fleecing drivers is painless. It’s not, Chancellor. Listen to us. Keep it frozen. So coy, Keir WHAT is Keir Starmer hiding about how he hired Sue Gray as his chief of staff? Why is Labour’s leader reduced to reciting scripted bluster over exactly when he and this “neutral” civil servant began their secret negotiations, even as she was advising the Tory Government? Were they doing so in December when she opposed the blocking of Scotland’s mad policy on transgender teens, which much of Labour also backs? The Tories claim her outrageous hire breaks four civil service rules. Is that why Starmer is so coy and his party so rattled? He always demands transparency from the Government. When will he publish all HIS conversations with Gray? SunTHE SAYS A WARNING TO CHANCELLOR HUNT Raising fuel tax in next week’s Budget will be political suicide Cut prices by 6.7% Cut Freezing duty since 2011 has... DOES this government really want to stimulate the economy? Because just now it seems like the answer is NO. As The Sun revealed on Saturday, unaccountable Treasury officials want Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to put fuel duty up by 2p a litre in next week’s Spring Budget. Why would any Chancellor sanction a fuel tax rise that would shrink the economy, increase inflation and add more to the dole queue? By increasing duty on petrol and diesel that nightmare scenario is on the cards a week tomorrow. For more than a decade The Sun’s Keep It Down campaign, which is run with FairFuelUK, has successfully kept fuel duty frozen. And last year, as the war in Ukraine sent the price of petrol and diesel through the roof, the Government heeded our advice and cut the tax on motoring by five pence a litre — although other countries slashed it by even more. “Experts” at the Treasury are now saying they need to increase fuel duty because keeping the freeze will cost the Government £6billion. They point to the fact that prices at the pump, especially petrol, have dropped recently as an excuse. But they seem to forget that pump prices are still far higher than they should be because falls in the wholesale cost of fuel have not been passed on by greedy oil companies. Research for FairFuel UK by respected economists at the Centre for Economics and Business Research has shown that freezing fuel duty since 2011 has been highly successful. By their calculations, freezing duty has reduced the Consumer Prices Index by 6.7 per cent compared with where it would have been by 2018, as well as boosting household expenditure by £24billion. Bringing the projection to 2023, they calculate that the freeze in fuel duty benefit may have kept our economy out of recession. Load of claptrap Had it not been in place, there is no doubt UK Plc would now be bankrupt. It would be bizarre and disastrous to the economy to change a policy that has been so successful. Fuel duty is a regressive tax and hits the poor hardest. Any increase will impact badly on low- to middleincome taxpayers, van drivers and truckers, while well-off Tesla drivers won’t notice a thing. If this odious and muchdespised tax is going to rise by 2p a litre then, Chancellor, you can wave goodbye to all those hard-earned red wall Tory seats. Even Labour are sensibly calling for fuel duty to remain frozen. Don’t fall off your chair, you heard right — Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves is demanding Jeremy Hunt spares drivers from a fuel tax increase at the pumps in next week’s Budget. It seems Labour’s special advisers recognise that British drivers, who are among the world’s highest taxed motorists, do vote at elections. The Treasury are saying that keeping fuel duty unchanged would be the biggest single expense of the Budget. What a load of claptrap! This economic naivety is being driven by pressure from well-financed, ill-informed environmentalists who want the internal combustion engine to be made extinct. They totally ignore the reality of market dynamics. Lower prices for petrol, and especially diesel, bring down inflation, reduce business costs and food prices, while at the same time increasing consumer spending, investment and jobs. The inevitable rise in disposable income that follows drives more growth taxes for the Exchequer, all to be invested back into public services. This is economic common sense. And let’s not forget the massive subsidies afforded to electric vehicle users, who pay just five per cent VAT on home charging and 20 per cent on public charging. Compare that to the 30million drivers of internal combustion vehicles who pay 50 per cent in duty and VAT. And petrol and diesel fillups include 20 per cent VAT on the fuel duty, which in itself is an immoral tax grab — paying tax on tax. There is no doubt that fighting inflation is a laudable strategy. That is why millions of people with common sense are aghast and wondering why Jeremy Hunt has not done exactly what he and the Prime Minister espouse — cut consumer taxes. They have had enough time to put all of us out of our cost-of-living crisis misery but seem wedded to the journey of economic stagnation. Their advisers seem to have prevented tax-cutting policies, including reducing fuel duty, from happening. This will cost the Tories at the ballot box. Needless tax take Millions of voters — many without a political home — are simply going through the motions by going to work to reluctantly supply the Treasury with the highest sustained level of tax seen in the UK since the aftermath of World War Two. The Office for Budget Responsibility says our tax burden will hit a record high of 37.5 per cent as a share of GDP in 2024-25. This level of needless tax take, if maintained, will see UK growth wither and die. It will also signal the end of the Conservative Party as the voice of business, low taxes and small state, doomed to the Opposition benches for a generation. Keep fuel duty down, Chancellor, make this a Budget of growth and not a political suicide note. @howardccox By HOWARD COX Founder, FairFuel UK Boosted spending by £24bn DO YOUR DUTY . . . Chancellor 10............... Tuesday, March 7, 2023

HOUSE OF COMMONS LONDON SW1A 0AA The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Chancellor of the Exchequer HM Treasury 1 Horse Guards Road London SW1A 2HQ 1 March 2023 Dear Jeremy, Fuel Duty and Spring Budget 2023 We welcome the engagement you have had with us already on the budget and on the future of fuel duty rates. As you are considering and finalising the measures and decisions for the Spring Budget on 15 March 2023, we strongly encourage you to take action to support hard-pressed motorists, families and businesses by freezing or cutting fuel duty. Doing so would provide an enormous relief and much-needed certainty at a time when costs have risen considerably. Moreover, given the impact that fuel costs have on prices more widely in the economy, a freeze or reduction will help the Government to meet its priorities this year to halve inflation and to grow the economy. Since 2010 Conservatives have had a proud track record in freezing and reducing fuel duty to support economic growth and jobs creation. In 1997, fuel duty was 36.86 pence per litre and by 2010 it had risen 55% under the then Labour Government to 57.19 pence per litre, with plans they implemented that then took it to 58.95 pence per litre in 2011. Labour had also pledged to hike it up further by one pence per litre above indexation in future years. We – and the Government you were a part of – took a different approach. To support motorists and the economy fuel duties were cut by a penny per litre in 2011, then frozen in successive years, before being cut by 5 pence per litre last year. As a result, motorists have been saving money every time they fill up their tanks compared to the trajectory and plans we inherited from Labour. Over the last 13 years families would have been able to keep thousands of pounds more of their hard-earned money, while businesses will have had more cash to invest in jobs and growth or to cover other costs. Research from Cebr and commissioned by FairFuelUK has found that the fuel duty freeze since 2011 has kept costs down in the economy and boosted household expenditure by £24 billion. It has been one of our most successful fiscal policies and presents a clear dividing line between our Conservative approach to taxation, and the Labour Party, who continue to see motorists as cash cows. However, as the Budget approaches, the nation’s motorists are concerned that fuel duty could rise again. The Office for Budget Responsibility’s November 2022 Economic Outlook and Forecast stated: “The planned 23 per cent increase in the fuel duty rate in late-March 2023, which adds £5.7 billon to receipts next year. This would be a record cash increase, and the first time any Government has raised fuel duty rates in cash terms since 1 January 2011. It is expected to raise the price of petrol and diesel by around 12 pence a litre.”

HOUSE OF COMMONS LONDON SW1A 0AA You will appreciate that a 12 pence per litre increase in fuel duty will hit drivers hard and have adverse impacts on the wider economy. With VAT that means 14.4p more. For an average family car driver, this needless tax hike on an essential resource will mean, they will have to fork out an extra £8 per fill up, white van man £20 and a medium sized truck £55 at the forecourt. It would also contradict Government efforts to halve inflation and grow the economy. Research from Cebr has shown that such a steep increase in fuel duty could put 31,000 jobs at risk, have a 1% impact on GDP and add 2.3% to inflation. Moreover, those on the lowest incomes who pay a larger proportion of their incomes on fuel, will be hit hard, van drivers could face £1,000 higher costs, and hauliers could end up forking out £7,000 more per HGV. Those costs will be passed on to consumers and may also force some hauliers out of business. Furthermore, even with over decade of our much welcomed fuel duty freezes and cuts, UK drivers still remain amongst one of the most taxed motorists in the world and are paying more in taxes than some of our competitors. This is particularly pertinent in respect to the commercial heartbeat of any economy, diesel. For example, Germany’s duty is 8p per litre lower, and Spain and Ireland are 20p less than here in the UK. It’s time the cost of logistics that impacts so acutely on inflation is reduced. Cutting Fuel duty would definitely stimulate the economy, but freezing it at current levels is the least we should do. At a time when the economy continues to face challenges, the HGV and logistics sector has difficulties with recruitment and retention, and households and businesses are having budgets squeezed, it would be wrong for fuel duty to rise. With such strong and compelling evidence presented in support of fuel duties being kept frozen at the current 52.95 pence per litre rate or reduced, we urge you to support the nation’s motorists, households and businesses by committing to this in the forthcoming Spring Budget and look at ways to reduce the tax burden on motorists. It will show the public across the country that this Conservative Government is standing by them and delivering for them in these difficult times and that we are staying true to our values by keeping taxes down. We look forward to your reply and would be glad to meet with you to discuss this further. Yours ever, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP Craig Mackinlay MP Jonathan Gullis MP Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP Rt Hon Sammy Wilson MP Sarah Atherton MP Louie French MP Giles Watling MP Rt Hon Mark Francois MP Laurence Robertson MP Gordon Henderson MP Caroline Ansell MP Bob Blackman MP Henry Smith MP Heather Wheeler MP Andrea Jenkyns MP James Grundy MP Jason McCartney MP Scott Benton MP Wendy Morton MP Kelly Tolhurst MP Greg Smith MP Philip Davies MP Ben Everitt MP Howard Cox, representing 1.7m FairFuelUK supporters