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Spring Statement does nothing for public transport users. What about the third of households without a car?

Published 23 March 2022 by

Commenting on today’s Spring Statement, Transform director Colin Howden said:

“Today’s Spring Statement does absolutely nothing for public transport users. The Chancellor clearly thinks that everyone has a car. What about the third of households who have no access to a car?

“Fuel tax cuts disproportionately benefit the wealthiest people in society. [1] This fuel tax cut comes after a decade where the UK Government has chosen to freeze fuel duty while increasing rail fares above inflation every year.

“Cutting fuel taxes is a depressingly short-sighted response from the UK Government. Putin’s war is financed by oil sales yet the Chancellor’s response is to subsidise private car use.

“It’s very clear that the UK Government prefers continued reliance on fossil fuel use. We need instead to urgently follow the action demanded this week by the United Nations’ Secretary-General and get out of oil in order to avoid ‘mutually assured destruction’ through climate change. [2]

“The Chancellor could have decided to cut public transport fares. To help lower-income households dependent on cars, governments should lower income taxes, increase mobility allowances or simply issue cash cheques to those who need it. Instead, we have a blanket cut in fuel taxes which disproportionately benefits richer motorists driving larger, more polluting vehicles.”

NOTES:

[1] New research published this week by Transport and Environment has found that this cut will actually result in the ‘richest 10% of drivers [receiving] eight times more in fuel tax cuts than the poorest, on average, because they consume far more fuel… Wealthier motorists drive more, often alone, and with larger, more polluting vehicles’. See https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/taxpayers-face-e9bn-bill-for-fuel-tax-cuts-skewed-towards-the-rich-study-finds/

[2] BBC (21/03/22) ‘Climate change: ‘Madness’ to turn to fossil fuels because of Ukraine war’. See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-60815547