I appreciate the concerns that many of us have relating to the impact of rising fuel prices. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has not helped matters, and I know that the Government is monitoring this closely.
In recognition of the unprecedented circumstances pushing up fuel prices, I welcome the decision announced in the Spring Statement to cut fuel duty by 5 pence for a full year across all fuel duty rates.
The decision to freeze fuel duty for the twelve consecutive years prior to this cut had already saved the average driver over £1,900 compared to the pre-2010 escalator.
How is road tax spent?
Cars are essential to many people here in the constituency and I welcome that for the first time since 1926, money raised through car tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) is now being spent directly on the roads. Around £28bn is being invested in England's strategic and local roads, an amount equivalent to all VED receipts. I was also very pleased to see the announcement in the Spending Review that £1.7 billion has been made available for local highway authorities in England (outside London) for 2021-2022 to improve the condition of local roads and associated infrastructure.
Furthermore, a new £2.5 billion Pothole Fund is running between 2020/21 and 2024/25 to help local authorities fill-in around 50 million potholes across the country and stop potholes forming in the first place.
Controlling fuel prices
While I am aware of the arguments in favour of introducing an independent pump pricing watchdog, I do not believe such a move is necessary. I firmly believe that the most effective way to keep fuel prices down is through an open and competitive market. The best way to keep fuel prices as low as they can be is for consumers to shop around for the best prices. Quite often, supermarket forecourts have some of the cheapest prices for both Petrol and Diesel. I strongly believe that this competition between fuel retailers delivers far better savings for motorists than any government quango could provide.