Transport charity warns Chancellor’s fuel duty cut disadvantages public transport passengers

Campaign for Better Transport has warned that a fuel duty cut in tomorrow’s (23 March) Spring Statement will not help those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis and will do nothing to reduce our dependence on oil or tackle climate change.

Paul Tuohy, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “A cut in fuel duty will only serve as a temporary respite for richer drivers and do little to help those on the lowest incomes who may not even own a car. Rail fares have risen at a higher rate than fuel costs and bus fares have risen twice as fast, yet public transport passengers have not been given any help with the cost-of-living crisis. If the Chancellor really wanted to help households weather the current storm and address our dependence on oil, he’d make public transport cheaper so people are not forced to rely on their cars.”

Since 2012, rail fares have risen at a higher rate than fuel costs, yet rail passengers faced a 3.8 per cent increase in fares this month, despite calls for a fare freeze. Bus fares have risen at a far higher rate, 54 per cent in the last decade. If fuel had risen at the same rate as bus fares, it would cost well over 200p a litre by now instead of an average of 167p.

The transport charity is warning that lower income households are bearing the brunt of spiralling travel costs; as a third (35 per cent) have no access to a car, they make three times as many bus journeys as people with the highest incomes.

Mr Tuohy added: “The Government has wisely invested in a national bus strategy to improve local buses, but unless it does something to address high fares, its investment will be wasted.”