Rising petrol prices to be debated by MPs today

Petrol nozzle

Escalating petrol prices – and the subsequent strain they put on workers and households – will be debated in the House of Commons today.

Backed by an e-petition signed by more than 100,000 people, including 100 MPs, the motion is calling for the government to abandon planned fuel duty hikes in January 2012.

Chancellor George Osborne announced a 1p per litre cut in fuel duty in the 2011 Budget and disbanded the fuel tax escalator, which linked fuel duty to inflation. But petrol prices are due to increase by 3p a litre in the New Year, followed by another 5p rise in August 2012.

Immense difficulties

Conservative MP Tony Halfon's motion welcomes the government's efforts to address rising petrol prices at the same time as it tackles the country's deficit problems - but urges the government to "consider the effect that increased taxes on fuel will have on the economy".

"High fuel prices are causing immense difficulties for small and medium-sized enterprises," Halfon adds.

He also notes in the motion there are cases of low-paid workers paying a tenth of their income just to fill up the family car and that high fuel costs are "particularly damaging for the road freight industry".

Halfon wants the government to ensure that falls in the oil price are passed on to consumers and to consider introducing a "price stabilisation mechanism" to address changes in the price of petrol.

In an open letter to the Chancellor, AA president Edmund King says that for most people the family car is "a necessity not a luxury. It is their means to a job, health care, doing the shopping, visiting relatives and friends and also for improving the quality of their lives".

"The AA firmly believes that business and households should be given a break from the annual cycle of fuel duty increases," King adds.

The average cost of petrol is currently 133.73p a litre, according to petrolprice.com

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