Fuel prices are coming down which ought to be good news for the government.
But as they drop, the percentage we pay in tax gets higher which only reinforces the knowledge that the government’s impost is too high.
It has confirmed that it’s ordering a market study into the retail fuel market.
This will be an expensive exercise and the Taxpayers’ Unions says the government could save the money by looking into a mirror, not the market:
Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The recent spike, and now drop, in petrol prices shows that the market’s influence on petrol price varies. What is constant, however, is the Government’s fuel tax, which makes up close to 50 per cent of current prices.”
“The Government’s conspicuous hand-wringing over the conduct on petrol companies looks like an attempt to distract from its ongoing tax revenue grab – set to escalate with further petrol tax hikes in 2019 and 2020.”
“The Prime Minister is playing loose with the truth when she says tax revenue goes straight into improving our roads. Her Government has pursued a strategy of raiding excise tax revenues to fund projects motorists don’t use – like trams and cycleways.”
This last point is particularly galling.
High fuel taxes spent on roads would be a form of user-pays which is a a bit less difficult to swallow than higher fuel taxes for public transport and cycleways.
High fuel prices flow on to the cost of all goods and every service for individuals and businesses.
They also impact on not for profit organisations that provide social services and hit the poorest hardest.
If the government was serious about reducing poverty, it would acknowledge the high cost of fuel is one of the biggest contributing factors and the part tax plays in that.
Reducing, or at least not increasing, fuel taxes would be a simple way to reduce the cost of living and therefore help the people it purports to want to get out of poverty.