BLYTH Valley MP Ronnie Campbell has added his voice to calls for a cut in tax on fuel to help hard-up motorists.
Mr Campbell is backing calls by Labour Party chiefs for Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to reverse the recent VAT rise on fuel, as well as scrapping a 1p rise in fuel duty due in April.
The rise has added almost 3p a litre to the price of fuel since January, and with pump prices already surging to record levels of almost £1.30 for petrol and beyond £1.40 for diesel in south east Northumberland, drivers are being hit too hard in the pocket, said Mr Campbell.
Figures from the House of Commons Library show that the increase in VAT to 20 per cent will raise £700m for the Treasury.
Mr Campbell said: “I’ve consistently opposed the VAT rise, which has hit families in Blyth Valley hard and helped to push up petrol prices to their current record levels.
“It’s time the Chancellor took immediate action on fuel prices to ease the pressure on families who are already facing a tough year and having their incomes squeezed.
“He should immediately reverse the VAT rise on fuel, which has added nearly 3p to the price of a litre of petrol, using the extra £800m the Treasury will be getting from the bank levy.
“And in the Budget later this month, Mr Osborne should look again at the annual fuel duty rise due in April.
“The Tories promised a fuel duty stabiliser to win votes before the election, but if they don’t deliver one, it will just be another broken promise.
“If you look at the profits being delivered by the fuel companies, you can see that they can absorb a lot of the costs of the world oil price increases, and in many cases they benefit hugely from these price increases, but rarely if ever do they pass these costs on to the consumer.
“Now is the wrong time to be making things even worse for hard-pressed families in Blyth Valley by hiking up VAT, as this government has done.
“Mr Osborne should admit he got it wrong and reverse the VAT rise on petrol now.”
Mr Osborne is believed to be planning to make the scrapping of the 1p rise in fuel duty previously lined up the centrepiece of his Budget on Wednesday, March 23.