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1 Nov 2012

This week, the fight against high fuel duty was taken to the heart of Government and, guess what, for once it seems we have cause to actually feel optimistic!

Our friends at FairFuelUK had a meeting with Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in which they put forward their reasoned argument: high fuel duty squeezes the pockets of families and businesses, it reduces spending power, and it prevents the UK economy from growing.

Backed up with data from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR), Alexander was shown how a fuel duty increase of 3p on 1 January, as is planned, will destroy 35,000 jobs and hinder UK growth by 0.1 percent.

Meeting the Government with a reasoned argument backed up with scientific data is by no means a sure way to make politicians see sense – I mean, why would it be? But a rare and great thing has happened – the Treasury has listened, showed understanding and invited FairFuelUK back to field questions from an expert panel on the ins and outs of the research.

Clearly this isn’t a runaway victory (yet), but do not underestimate the importance of this: having the chance to enter into dialogue with ministers, to debate an important fiscal policy during austere times which has such a profound effect on the British public, is one stop closer.

Spokesman for FairFuelUK, Quentin Willson, has written in his blog that he believes there is a 70 percent chance that ministers will trust the figures and defer, or better yet scrap, the 3p increase in January. We don’t want to get carried away with arbitrary statistics and blind optimism, but because we’re confident in FairFuelUK and NIESR’s research, we believe this is a significant moment. Fingers crossed!

The full report, including the potential benefits that could come from a fuel duty decrease of 3p, can be found here.

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