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Letter: OfPump and the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Below are highlights from a letter written by Quentin Willson and Howard Cox of FairFuelUK to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“Well done on raising your voice on the road fuel pricing issue in November. We at FairFuelUK have long been concerned at the confusing disconnect between the price of crude and forecourt pricing and in 2013 asked the OFT to investigate. It’s clear to us that oil majors, refiners, speculators and retailers still aren’t passing on falls in wholesale crude prices fast enough to the 32 million drivers in the UK. As soon as you, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and FairFuelUK hit the media on November 6, within hours, the supermarkets and petrol companies cut their prices. Strange that.

“With consumers rightly cross and confused, FairFuelUK and its 1 million supporters want the government to revisit the issues of oil price manipulation and forecourt pricing and use the Competition and Markets Authority to set up an ‘OfPump’ enquiry to bring transparency and clarity to its opaque market. And there’s a social and economic urgency to all this. The recent recession began in 2008 when oil hit US$ 145 a bbl and the world’s supply chain buckled under the weight of unsupportable road fuel costs. We can’t let this happen again.

“Due to our campaigning the Treasury now understands that low fuel costs stimulate economic activity. Suspending all those Labour fuel duty escalators was a very good thing indeed and FairFuelUK’s CEBR & NIESR research plus the Treasury’s dynamic modelling have empirically proved that this government’s actions on duty have benefitted UK GDP by an uplift of between 0.3 and 0.5%. No small achievement in an era of very limited growth. This year The Bank of England has also repeatedly told us that our low inflation rate has been helped by falling fuel prices. What we’ve all done on fuel duty since 2011 has had a massive economic benefit to families and business across the UK. But there’s more to be achieved with our duty and pump prices the highest in the western world and still impacting adversely on UK’s haulage industry.

“In the last 24 hours FairFuelUK has had over 2000 emails supporting our calls for a pump pricing enquiry, we have 30 000 petition signatures as well, plus the cross party support led by Jason McCartney MP and the very good work already done by your PPS, Robert Halfon, MP.

“We do hope you’ll consider this request as its isn’t a crie de Coeur from a marginal group of ‘motorists’ but the pressing financial needs of 32 million private and commercial drivers in the UK, 70% of whom have to travel to work by car or van because there is no other choice. Cars and vans are the nation’s public transport and we must all make sure that the road fuel this country has to buy to get to work is priced, fairly, honestly and transparently.”

Edited from letter by Claira Lloyd

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