ECONOMIC respect for our beleaguered government has sunk even further in the minds of British motorists, white van drivers and truckers.
And that’s putting it kindly.
Her anger, mixed with genuine astonishment, after last week’s fall statement is genuine and significant.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged transparency and integrity from what he says is a prudent new government under his leadership.
But by failing to mention a proposed punitive tax change announced by the Treasury-funded Office of Budget Responsibility, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has created uncertainty, leading to widespread discontent and humiliation among Tory backbenchers.
Your voters are running away from ever voting conservative again.
Jeremy Hunt announced freezes on income tax and inheritance tax thresholds, cuts in dividend allowances, capital gains levy and the additional 45p tax rate, which is to be reduced from £150,000 to £125,140.
He told the green banks that $14bn
He also stated that from 2025, EV drivers will no longer be exempt from vehicle excise duty. But this was the first budget or financial report in my 13-year campaign that didn’t mention the fuel tax.
But just an hour later, the OBR announced at its press conference: “The proposed 23 per cent increase in the fuel tax rate at the end of March 2023, adding £5.7bn to revenue next year. . . Petrol and diesel are expected to be around 12p a liter more expensive.”
With VAT that’s closer to 15p per litre.
The effects of this silly plan on truckers and white van drivers will be catastrophic, forcing many to hit a wall.
And to make matters worse, the government has even increased the tax that many pay for the “pleasure” of taking their company van home.
I think pump prices are 20p too high, especially for diesel.
The Sun agrees, as evidenced by the Keep It Down and Stand By Our Vans campaigns.
Even supermarkets are resisting lowering fuel costs. Traditionally they were the first and very quick to help motorists with lower prices – but not now.
As my campaign friend, MP Craig Mackinlay, put it, “The OBR is a quango that’s spiraling out of control and increasingly looking like the puppets of the elected government.” The moment the OBR let the cat out of the bag, my phone rang broken.
Tory MPs sent a letter to the Chancellor to clarify whether the OBR figures should be the basis for next year’s spring budget.
FairFuelUK supporter Jonathan Gullis MP told me: “This underhanded attempt by the OBR to give the bright eco-warriors what they want by penalizing motorists in their pockets is morally wrong.
“The Chancellor needs to listen to motorists, van drivers and truckers who are already being hit hard with crippling taxes, and show them that we – my government – actually have their backs by keeping the price at the pump down!”
The Chancellor’s reply came quickly. He said: “I want to clarify and confirm that there were no changes or decisions on fuel tax rates in this fall statement.
“The OBR was simply expressing a guess, as they have been doing for many years. I will consider future installments in the spring budget.”