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MP applies fuel pressure during House debate

Wednesday 16th November 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)
MP applies fuel pressure during House debate

BURTON’S MP has called for action over the ‘spiralling cost’ of petrol.

Conservative Andrew Griffiths spoke in the House of Commons yesterday in a debate about how fuel prices could be driven down.

Mr Griffiths was among 116 MPs from different parties to sign the motion backing a debate on fuel prices, which also attracted 110,000 signatures in an online petition.

He said that industry and businesses in Burton had been ‘massively’ hit by recent hikes in fuel prices, and pointed the finger at supermarkets for holding a ‘monopoly’ on the marketplace.

Speaking in the House, he said: “Businesses are saying it’s having a real impact.

“My constituents are suffering because they have had pay freezes and pay cuts.

“They are suffering because of inflation, and they are suffering because of large increases in oil prices.”

He said people were being faced with a difficult choice of either paying to maintain their cars, or filling up their cars with fuel to go to work and pick up their children from school.

The Labour benches argued that the Government needed to make a cut in VAT, as the increase in January had heaped further misery on struggling motorists.

Fuel prices have tripled in the last 20 years, with the average price at the pumps now reaching 134.2p for a litre of unleaded in Burton.

Fuel duty is due to increase by 3p a litre in January, and the tax currently accounts for around 58p in a litre. VAT makes up 22p and 45p is due to the cost of oil, while 7p goes to the retailer.

MPs also discussed the disparity in the cost of fuel between areas. Yesterday, a Mail photographer snapped the prices at forecourts across the area, which ranged from 131.9p to 136.9p for a litre of unleaded.

Mr Griffiths said supermarkets were having ‘an anti-competitive’ effect on the marketplace and were ‘driving prices up’, and revealed he had been advised to write to the Office of Fair Trading.

MP Robert Halfon, who submitted the motion calling for the debate, argued that fuel duty had ‘the engine of a Rolls-Royce’ but had ‘the brakes of a lawn mower.’

He said petrol was ‘so expensive, it is driving people off the road.

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