This notion is said to be in support of the governments’ new efforts to increase funds for the NHS, after the prime minister’s announcement in June that the service will receive an additional £20 billion per year by 2023.
However, with higher oil prices and a weaker sterling already putting extra pressure on drivers, the UK government has seen concerns raised by motoring groups that such a decision could see fuel pump prices soar in response.
Luke Bosdet, AA spokesperson has commented that increasing fuel duty has the potential to ‘become a huge red line’ which could cause consequences nationwide if reached. More than 25 per cent of AA members spend a set amount on fuel when they visit a petrol station, mainly because some won’t necessarily ‘have the slack in their budgets to be able to absorb an increase in fuel costs. When the impact of a sudden, government-invoked hike in fuel costs becomes so knife-edged, a backlash is inevitable.’
The RAC have also spoken out as drivers already face increased costs, and for firms are finding it more and more expensive to buy fuel, following the fuel price increase across the UK in May this year.
A spokesperson commented: ‘aside from the fact that petrol and diesel in the UK are subject to some of the highest levels of taxation anywhere in Europe, it is also the case that the fuels are at their highest prices for more than three years. With a significantly weaker pound, it would only take a few further oil prices rises this year to see prices start to rocket.’
The consideration has also sparked debate amongst political circles, with Tory MP and former minister Robert Halfon suggesting that the plan would go down ‘like a bucket of cold sick’, and that hard working families and businesses were likely to be hit hardest.
Fuel duty has been frozen at a rate of 57.95p per litre since 2011, but as the NHS remains in a financial crisis, it remains to be said if UK motorists are to bare the brunt in an effort to help fund a £20 billion cash boost.