2ail Darlleniad Deddf Cyllid 2012

I intend to make only a short speech, concentrating on fuel prices. Plaid Cymru has been consistent in calling for a fuel duty regulator to prevent unexpected spikes in prices that cost users at the pump and are then pocketed by the Treasury.

Figures for November 2011 from the Office for National Statistics showed that the poorest 20% of households spend twice as much of their disposable income—nearly 4%—on petrol duty as the richest 20%, who pay less than 2%. We already know that rural families spend hundreds of pounds more on petrol than urban families, so constituents in rural Wales, where there are lower incomes, are being hit by a double whammy.

Since 2005, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National party have called for a fuel duty regulator, through which an advance estimate of UK tax returns would be made. If prices rose faster than expected, a price cap would be introduced, so there would be no windfall tax for the Government. In 2005 and 2008, Labour voted against our amendments, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats abstained. In 2011, it was the other way round. At least this place is consistent, no matter who is in government. The Federation of Small Businesses has published proposals for a stability mechanism in the last few weeks; the Treasury should at least look at it.

Mr Russell Brown: The hon. Gentleman has mentioned dates when proposals were put forward. There was one year, 2006, I think—it may have been 2007—when no proposal came from anyone for a fuel duty regulator. Why was that?

Jonathan Edwards: I have admitted that we proposed amendments in 2005, 2008 and 2011. The hon. Gentleman is right that we did not do it every year, but every time we made the proposal, the voting record of each of the unionist parties has been consistent.

The 1p off fuel duty announced last year was not a regulator in the way that the Treasury suggested, and the 3p increase in August is most certainly not either. In the continuing poor economic circumstances, I would rather the proposed fuel duty rise in August was cancelled, so that businesses did not have to face that extra cost in these tough times. Families could use that money for their own benefit; that would help them and the wider economy. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) said, that would be one way of removing a serious drag on economic recovery.

I hardly need explain that my party and I are in favour of maintaining the 50p tax rate for those who earn more than £3,000 a week. Indeed, unlike the overwhelming majority of the official Opposition—there are two honourable exceptions—I put my disagreement with the policy on record in the vote on 26 March. It cannot be right for the Government to offer a tax cut to those who earn the most while announcing a £10 billion cut to the welfare budget. Clearly, we are not all in this together.

16 Apr 2012 : Column 125

Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire) (Con) rose —

Jonathan Edwards: I will not give way; I am sure that the Front Benchers want to get on with their summing up.

My party and I do not support the freezing or scrapping of age-related thresholds—the so-called granny tax—or the introduction of means-tested child support benefits, whether we have a cliff-edge or a taper. The point of universal child benefit is that everybody with a child receives the benefit, irrespective of their income, because it costs additional money to raise a child.

Schedule 23 of the Bill allows Northern Ireland the right to vary air passenger duty on long-haul flights, but does not provide the same for Wales and Scotland. That appears to be an ad hoc arrangement. As my party has noted consistently, what is good for one part of the British state is good for other parts. For that reason, I have tabled an amendment to the schedule that will give Wales the same powers as Northern Ireland. I look forward to debating the issue on Wednesday—and to having the support of the official Opposition, in view of the position taken by the leader of the Labour party in the Assembly.

The Budget continues the UK’s inequalities and the transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. We cannot accept a Budget that offers no prospect of growth, and a Finance Bill that reinforces inequality.

One Response to “2ail Darlleniad Deddf Cyllid 2012” [latest first]

  1. I am pleased to see that Johnathon Edwards is maintaining pressure on the fuel duty, it’s a serious case of survial, contracts are tendered at 1 to 3% margins or even at a loss in some cases just to maintain a market share. The 3p rise in fuel will increase my annual fuel bill by £40,000.00. I would have been happy with a £40k profit. How much profit does the Government think we are making???????

Man Trafod - Rhowch sylwad yma

Bydd eich ateb yn cael ei gymedroli, ac ni fydd yn ymaddangos yn syth. Medrwch baratoi eich testun mewn prosesydd geiriau cyn ei roi yn y bocs, ond ni fydd elfennau megis trwmder tecst a lliw yn ymddangos.