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Petrol prices rocket but politicians won't act

PUBLISHED: 12:58 29 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:40 23 August 2010

PRICES at the pumps have hit record highs but politicians will do nothing to address the problem, a haulage firm manager claims. High profile protests were staged by haulage firms in 2000 and 2008 but despite average unleaded and diesel prices rising ste

PRICES at the pumps have hit record highs but politicians will do nothing to address the problem, a haulage firm manager claims.

High profile protests were staged by haulage firms in 2000 and 2008 but despite average unleaded and diesel prices rising steadily in the past few months, with most pumps charging around 120p per litre, there has been little political debate on the issue.

Len Valsler of LV Transport, Northfleet, says that none of the parties will act to reduce the price.

He said: "It is a massive issue but I don't think any of them will change it. The thing is that if petrol prices go up the price of virtually everything else goes up as well. The cost of fuel is connected to everything because the haulage firms have to pass on their costs to their customers.

He also pointed the finger at foreign haulage companies avoiding road tax costs as a problem.

The Government announced in March it would stagger its 3p planned increase in duty on fuel with 1p hikes on April 1, October 1 and January next year.

Kathryn Smith, Gravesham's Labour candidate said: "Because of the economy at the moment the Government was quite right to defer it until October. Maybe if the situation remains the same it will push it back further. However, I don't think it can be put off forever."

Of the 120p charged, around 57p is fuel duty, 18p VAT, and 45p the fuel itself.

UKIP candidate Geoffrey Clark is a former consultant who worked with petrol company Shell and he explained that he feels rising prices come through a huge number of issues.

He said: "You need to look at the price of the US dollar against the pound, which is high, the price of crude oil, which is low, the level of tax, level of VAT, the price to transport it, the price removing it from the ground, and the price the petrol companies charge.

"Talking with fellow UKIP candidate about this issue, we all agree the main problem is the petrol companies themselves.

"As a party we believe it is a capitalist country and private companies have to be able to charge what they wish. If there is something to be done it must be through consumer pressure."

Mr Clark did point out his party wants foreign lorry drivers to pay a contribution towards using British roads, but details of the scheme have not been laid out.

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