Journal Column – 16th February

Last week I had the opportunity to close my party’s debate in the House of Commons which called on the Westminster government to fulfill its pre-election pledge to establish a fuel duty regulator. Unfortunately despite widespread support from leading industry bodies and motorist groups, the motion was defeated. Conservative and Lib Dem MPs voted against the motion whilst the Labour Party didn’t turn up! Only one of Labour’s 26 MPs in Wales voted in favour. The other parties have failed to grasp the severity of the fuel crises facing Wales and the UK.

The Westminster government’s position is extremely exposed. We desperately need action to tackle soaring fuel prices – but the Conservatives have shown they are happy to ditch a manifesto pledge by dropping their commitment to a fuel stabiliser.
It is now three years since the Conservatives announced their conversion to a policy which Plaid Cymru has been promoting since 2005. But on each and every occasion when they could show their support for a fuel duty regulator they have failed to vote for it. What does this say about their enthusiasm for their own policies? We are being fobbed off with a consultation and the promise of an announcement later instead of taking real action about a problem which affects millions of people across the UK – soaring fuel prices because of increases in fuel duty and VAT slapped on by Westminster.

There is a huge amount of support backing the call for a Fuel Duty Regulator coming from a number of industry groups such as the Road Haulage Association, the Federation of Small Businesses and farming unions such as the NFU and the FUW.
Families and businesses in Carmarthenshire are suffering due to these soaring costs.

The Westminster government must make an announcement now about the April Fuel Duty rise, not wait until a week before, and must put a fuel duty regulator in place rather than continue to dither as they have done.

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