Transport charity criticises fuel duty cut in Spring Statement
Campaign for Better Transport has warned that the fuel duty cut announced in the Spring Statement today (23 March) will not help those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis and will do nothing to reduce our dependence on oil or help people make the switch to more sustainable forms of transport.
Paul Tuohy, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “The financial impact of today’s fuel duty cut on people’s pockets will in fact be minimal, whereas the message it sends – that driving is preferable to using public transport – is much more detrimental. Whilst drivers are given help with the cost-of-living crisis, people that rely on public transport get no help with rising fares and face ongoing cuts to services.”
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 (4.8 per cent in London), despite calls for a fare freeze. Bus fares have risen at a far higher rate, 54 per cent in the last decade. If the cost of fuel for car drivers 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.
Campaign for Better Transport is warning that lower income households are bearing the brunt of spiralling travel costs. A third (35 per cent) of the lowest income households have no access to a car. People in the lowest-income households make three times as many bus journeys as people with the highest incomes.
Mr Tuohy added: “The Department for Transport has been busy supporting bus and rail travel, but the Chancellor’s announcement today has pulled the rug out from underneath public transport.”