TIME TO STOP STALLING AND U-TURN ON FUEL

Speaking during Scottish Questions at Westminster SNP Treasury Spokesperson Stewart Hosie MP called for the 3 pence fuel hike to be the next U-Turn on the UK Government’s list.

Mr Hosie raised the issue as reports emerged that the Tory-Lib Dem coalition were split on the fuel hike, with the Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly the latest to put pressure on the Treasury to ditch the 3 pence rise.

Mr Hosie said scrapping the tax would help create the right environment for jobs, with fuel prices one of the most significant cost pressures faced by businesses. In a recent survey more than a third of members of the Forum of Private Business cited transport costs, primarily the cost of fuel, as their main business pressure. When asked what would help improve the business climate in the UK, the main priority for business owners was reducing the cost of fuel duty.

Pressure is growing on the UK Government for a U-Turn as fifty MPs from across nine parties have now pledged their support for an SNP drafted clause to scrap the rise. The clause is expected to be tabled when the Budget completes committee stage, expected in late June.

The cross-party campaign is also backed by Fairfuel UK, which has over 300,000 supporters across the UK and is organised by Peter Carroll, the man behind the successful Gurkha Justice campaign fronted by Joanna Lumley.

Mr Hosie said:

“There was no clear answer from Scotland Secretary Michael Moore on fuel today – but the pressure continues to build with reports that even David Cameron seems to have joined the calls for a U-turn on this damaging hike.

“Everyone from Pensioners Campaign UK to the bosses of Asda and Sainsbury’s are united in their calls for the three pence rise to be scrapped – it seems the only ones who are split are the coalition.

"The impact of high fuel prices cuts right across the economy, hammering businesses as well as households. The UK Government should listen to the warnings from Phil Orford, the Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business who said: “There is a serious risk that economic recovery in the UK is strangled at birth if the Government doesn’t act, and act fast.”

“The fact that fifty MPs have now signed up to the ditch the 3 pence fuel duty hike is extremely encouraging. This cross party support reflects the cross-country strength of feeling on fuel prices.

“Politicians are throwing aside party differences to get behind the campaign and convince the Treasury to change its mind on this damaging hike and I hope the Treasury is paying attention.

"The SNP drafted clause to scrap the 3 pence fuel hike is a clear and effective way for the Treasury to take action now. In a fairfuel poll of nearly 30,000 people and 3,700 businesses, 85% said the fuel duty rise was the most important tax cut to boost economic growth.

"Scrapping the clause will ease the burden on households and businesses across the country and, crucially, it will help get the economy moving again.

"The campaign is growing fast both inside and outside the parliament for the 3pence rise to be scrapped. With the UK Government already used to performing U-Turns, it’s time to stop stalling and do another U-Turn on fuel."