MPs hit out at petrol price rise plan

Read it on the Telegraph & Argus

By Anika Bourley

MPs are demanding that the Government abandon plans to slap 2p on petrol and diesel from next week as the recession continues to bite.

The price at the pumps will increase from Tuesday, putting more pressure on already struggling motor-ists, taxi drivers, families and businesses.

In recent weeks petrol and diesel has soared over the £1 barrier back to an average of 104p after a few months' respite of lower prices.

Drivers have until Monday night to fill their tanks to avoid the increase, ann-ounced by Chancellor Alis-tair Darling in his budget earlier this year.

While petrol prices have fallen from their height last year, they have not been falling in line with reductions in wholesale oil prices.

Keighley MP Ann Cryer and Shipley MP Philip Davies are among a group of cross-party MPs demanding the Government re-think its policy ahead of the increase on Tuesday.

Mrs Cryer said: "At a time like this we do not need an increase in petrol.

"We want to encourage people to get on with their lives and for many that means using a car. I understand there are environmental concerns, but people need to be able to get around, carry on as normal, until we get out of the recession.

"If this is to happen, people need to spend money. If they are not travelling and spending money it will impact further on jobs.

"During these tough economic times it is not a great idea to add 2p per litre on to petrol and it is not acceptable. It is another burden people have to cope with."

MPs fear any additional cost will hit people on low and fixed incomes the hardest, and cause even more problems for already struggling businesses and people trying to keep hold of jobs.

Mr Davies said: "I do not want roads to be just for rich people who can afford petrol. British motorists are already totally ripped off.

"We have the highest tax in the world, and given the economic problems many families are experiencing the last thing people need is for petrol to go up even more."

But the Treasury defended the rise. A spokesman said: "Oil prices are far lower now compared to the peaks seen last year.

"And we have seen significant reductions in the price of fuel at the pumps over recent months."