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Steve Jordan asks: Can people-power triumph over fuel prices?

May 16, 2012
There can’t be anyone in the UK that hasn’t had enough of high fuel prices. At every turn, it seems, we are faced with yet another world event that puts the prices at the pumps up again: war in Libya, rumblings in Iran, gas leaks in the North Sea and now, as I write, the tanker drivers threatening to strike over nebulous ‘health and safety’ issues that concern Unite but leave the HSE unruffled. Whether, by the time this issue of The Mover goes to press, we’ll all be commuting by bike, it’s too early to tell. By Steve Jordan.

All these things considered, is it any reason what many of us are both angry and disappointed that in the March budget Mr. Osbourne decided to dish out another cause for despair: a further 16p/gallon in August. “A slap in the face for every family and business in Britain,” said Quentin Willson of FairFuelUK. This rise will mean that the government will be taking 86p out of every litre we buy at the pumps.

Alistair Bingle, Managing Director of Bishop’s Move, made his point very forcefully about the Chancellor’s failure to address fuel prices in a press release issued immediately after the budget. “This is very disappointing news for the removals industry, businesses and not to mention hard-working families who use the roads. Petrol prices could well be above 150p a litre by August when the planned 3p a litre increase takes effect. With VAT added, pump prices will rise 3.62p a litre. This has a significantly negative impact on the performance of businesses in the road haulage industry. The amount of fuel that’s consumed throughout the removals industry on a daily basis, even a small hike in price means our costs increase significantly. We can’t always pass on these costs to customers, so we take the hit.”

The Mover is not a political publication, but hang on chaps.  There must be a point at which the increase in fuel prices inhibits travel to the point where the government actually loses money not makes it.  Meanwhile business, and social intercourse, is strangled.  In fact FairFuelUK presented evidence of this principle to government before the budget, without effect.  “The government has not listened to our evidence that it could have reduced petrol & diesel tax and been no worse off in overall revenue,” said Quentin Willson. 

Of course the environmentalists will be delighted that we all have to stay locked in our offices for fear of burning a drop of the precious liquid. But to criticise them would be taboo and I could easily risk a spell in The Tower or at least an enforced trip to Coventry on the orders of those who think differently.  Perhaps we should all stick to public transport and cripple the economy inside a fortnight. Belting idea!

The question is whether we are prepared to accept our fate or try to do something about it. I have always believed that people power was an irresistible force. Those who feel the same should write to their local MPs to ask them to act on our behalf – that’s what we pay them for. We should also sign up to FairFuelUK and give them a little encouragement.  Quentin Willson thinks the government took no notice last time, but maybe they did – just not quite enough.  By keeping up the pressure, perhaps we’ll tip it over the edge.

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