19/11/2011 Leave a comment
I thought the debate in the House of Commons this week on Fuel pricing was a fascinating one and Chloe Smith MP summed it up perfectly at the end, there is the time for debate and listening and there is a time to adjust the Tax base but I would say the Government does need to heed the messaging as I know this is one of the gravest threats to a country or even semi rural way of life and when people talk they are worried, very worried about how they are going to pay for fuel. Daily and I do mean daily businesses are going out of business because people will no longer travel.
This is a difficult balance between raising tax as this country as we all know is financially in a mess and the government must act carefully and with a broad sense of direction to regain our fiscal sanity. 13 years of a fiscally irresponsible Labour Government who made no effort at all to put something aside for a rainy day, has been a complete disaster and as we are seeing being played out ‘in front of our very eyes’, economically globally and in Europe unfortunately it not so much a rainy day as almost permanent climate change; when the head of the IMF starts to talk about ‘the lost decade’ you know we all going to hell in a hand cart.
To me one of the key issues is the cost of petrol and diesel in relationship to where you live; fuel poverty is significantly higher in rural communities such as mine where to enjoy the activities that are a bus stop away in the towns and cities you have to spend significantly more money. I would like to see this increasing divide addressed and it seems to me that can be done by residential address Post Code car tax breaks, a relatively easy thing to calculate and advise people of.
However along with the rising price of petrol and diesel I think there is an even bigger issue fuel poverty is also about being able to heat our homes this winter.
In my home village there is no gas, accordingly many, many people use kerosene to heat their homes, and the price of this is now fearful. I am a trustee of a small family charity started by my Grandfather some 50 years ago given a bag of coal to the old folk of the village, the charity has property it lets and uses the rental income to, over the years, provide a number of fun activities from outings to the seaside to support of luncheon clubs etc. Today it principle activity to essentially back to a bag of coal at Christmas; over the winter a number of older people will run out of oil and we help them pay for a supply, then we work with them to suggest they take out a payment play with an oil company to spread the cost. I am also aware in my home village in 2011 in order to be able to pay for that next supply of fuel or the electricity bill, older people are making food or fuel decisions that that is simply wrong.
I would say the 5% VAT heating oil is wrong and night time (what most of us still call Economy 7) electricity should be stopped, a warm home in the winter an essential, if nothing else the cost to the system of dealing with people who get cold related illnesses far outweighs the 5% tax base, for all the warm schemes, for all the insulation, heating your home is not a choice nor luxury is a basic human requirement and should no be taxed.