|London, 22 June 2000.
For immediate release.
In his budget, the Chancellor stated that fuel duty and pensions would rise in line with inflation, seeking credit for an end to the fuel duty escalator which had previously put petrol prices up above the inflation rate each year.
Yet it has emerged that the figure he used for pensions was 1.1%, while 3.3% was used to raise the price of fuel. If the country's 10 million pensioners, who received a miserly 75p rise, had been treated using the same figure used for petrol prices their income would have risen by a more useable £2, while 25 million motorists are now paying more than £4 per gallon in many areas as a direct result of the Chancellor's ploy. The winner here is the Treasury, in a government which pockets £36 billion from motorists annually and then tries to short-change pensioners.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory comments:
"The Chancellor originally tried to claim that he was merely using the same approach as the previous Conservative government, but under pressure from analysts he has admitted that the 3.3% figure is a forecast of his own. This double dealing is shameful and another stark reminder of the anti-driver nature of this government."
ABD Spokesman Bernard Abrams urges a re-think by the Treasury and DETR:
"At a time when public surveys reveal John Prescott as the most disliked member of the government, Gordon Brown must be pushing him close with pensioners. In the elderly, we have a deserving group who were promised much by New Labour. All they get is stealth taxes from an apparently conscience-free Chancellor, and a woefully inadequate transport system from Two-Jags. If you are a pensioner, live in a rural area and drive a car, you must be wondering what has hit you. The answer is - a double whammy from Grasping Gordon and Punch-drunk Pugilist Prescott."
The ABD says: 25 million motorists in this country have had enough of the government's anti-driver policies, and looking to the forthcoming general election urges all drivers to kick the government in the ballots.