- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
CHANCELLOR George Osborne should use next week’s Budget to reverse the government’s VAT rise on fuel, Assembly Member Joyce Watson has argued.
Speaking during Assembly Question Time on Tuesday (15 March), Mrs Watson, who is Rural Affairs spokesperson for Labour in the Assembly, claimed the previous UK Government often postponed planned fuel duty increases when world oil prices were on the increase, as they currently are. She urged the Conservative-led administration to fulfil their pre-election pledge to deliver a fuel duty stabiliser.
“If they do not deliver one, it will be just another broken promise from the UK Government. However, more importantly, it will mean extra pressure on top of what is already being exerted on hardworking families and small businesses”, she said.
The Mid and West Wales AM’s plea comes as the Wales Office this week asked the Treasury to cut the cost of petrol by up to 5p a litre in rural Wales.
The Assembly Minister for Business and Budget responded by saying that the price of fuel was of the upmost concern for people living in rural communities:
“It could particularly hit those in rural areas, such as those whom you represent, who rely entirely on their own transport. Increasing fuel duty at this time would be extremely unwelcome.”
The Minister echoed Mrs Watson’s call for the UK Government to reverse the VAT increase:
“The VAT increase at the beginning of the year has meant an extra 3p on a litre of unleaded fuel. So, I hope that the UK Government will take the opportunity of next week’s budget to rethink in order to mitigate some aspects of this massive hit on the incomes of ordinary, hardworking families and businesses”.
According to figures published by the independent House of Commons Library, the VAT increase to 20 per cent in January has added nearly 3p to the price of a litre of petrol and will raise £700m for the Treasury.
The Welsh Labour Party is campaigning for the UK Government to fund the VAT reversal using the £800m extra the government is now getting from the bank levy, compared to what it was expecting in the last Budget.
Chancellor George Osborne will deliver the UK Budget on Wednesday (March 23).