Families struggling to cope with cost of fuel, Hampshire MPs warn

THE BIG FILL The government are being asked to do more to bring down the cost of fuel
THE BIG FILL The government are being asked to do more to bring down the cost of fuel

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HAMPSHIRE MPs have called for the government to do more to drive down the cost of fuel.

They say drivers in the south are suffering – particularly where public transport is less than adequate.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, Portsmouth North’s MP Penny Mordaunt, Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery and Damian Hinds, MP for East Hampshire, have signed an online petition on the topic.

It carried more than 100,000 signatures, triggering a debate on fuel prices in the House of Commons yesterday.

Ms Dinenage said: ‘We need to do more to prevent future rises in fuel prices.

‘It’s having a huge impact on families – some of them are spending more than 10 per cent of their income on fuel.

‘Gosport is one of the largest towns to not have a train line, so for most living in the area a car is a necessity.

‘It’s preventing the country’s economy from growing too because it affects small business.

‘We need to make sure things are changed for the future.’

Mr Hollingbery added: ‘A great number of my constituents have been in touch to tell me that the price of fuel is a big issue in their lives and they are really struggling with it.’

‘Living in such a rural area, they rely on their cars to get around.

‘It’s really important for me to air their views and reflect their concerns.

‘But the problem is if the government does decide not to raise fuel, then that money will have to be found somewhere else, and it could result in cuts form other services.’

During yesterday’s debate Tory MP Robert Halfon tabled a motion calling for a price stabilisation mechanism to curb the rate at which fuel prices rise.

It would operate alongside Chancellor George Osborne’s fair fuel stabiliser – a measure aimed at reducing duty on fuel at times of high prices.

A second motion tabled by Labour backbencher Dave Watts to cut the cost of fuel by, for instance, reversing January’s VAT rise, was also discussed at the debate.

David Cameron decided not to order his MPs to oppose the motion and allowed them to vote freely.

The motion was passed by MPs.

However, the result is not binding, so there is no question of the Prime Minister being forced to change his policy in response.

AA president Edmund King said: ‘We believe an increase in fuel duty would not only hit individual motorists, but would also be a blow for economic recovery. For many drivers the car is a necessity and not a luxury.’