MP fuels calls for more tax clarity
A Conservative MP has renewed calls for a change in the law to allow motorists to see the amount of fuel duty paid on their petrol and diesel receipts.
Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, said the principle contained in his proposed Bill was very simple, that "taxes should be clear to the people who pay them", adding that at the moment they were not.
His planned Bill, outlined to MPs in the Commons, would make provision for receipts for vehicle fuel to display the amount of fuel duty paid and the amount of that duty to be spent on road building.
He said: "My argument is that on every receipt of every fuel bill, the tax burden should be clear and transparent and there should be some indication of how much is being spent on our roads, so my receipt would say 'fuel £25, duty £25, VAT £10, amount spent on roads approximately £7."
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The campaign, he said, was being supported by FairFuelUK, which had notched up 15,000 signatures on a petition specifically on the issue, as well as the TaxPayers' Alliance.
The point of the Bill, he stressed, was to bring transparency into the system, give clarity to retailers and to make it standard across the whole the country.
He added: "We need to be honest with motorists. The average family in my constituency of Harlow spends a tenth of their income on fuel, more than they spend on the weekly shop. In essence they are facing petrol and diesel poverty and morally they have a right to know why their bills are so high."
Tax transparency, he added, would act as a deterrent to stop any future government hiking fuel duty without good reason, as people would see such an increase on their receipts. It would also make it easier to hold the big oil companies to account, he added.
He said: "It might even help to make the case for ditching Labour's 3p rise in fuel duty which this Government has so far delayed to January 2013 and I would urge the front bench to delay the rise further because too many people are still suffering from the high cost of petrol and diesel. Now this is a simple Bill and it does what it says on the tin. It would give us basic transparency on fuel duty, about what people pay and where the money goes, it would make the system more honest, would be a deterrent against tax rises and would added pressure on the oil companies to be fair."
His Vehicle Fuel Receipts (Transparency of Taxation) Bill was given an unopposed first reading and listed for a second reading on Friday November 30, but it is unlikely to become law due to a lack of Parliamentary time.