|London, 4 July 2000.
For immediate release.
Writing in a sunday paper, Mr Blair tried to accuse those campaigning for lower fuel taxes of trying to take money away from the sick and from schoolchildren.
"This approach is nothing but emotional blackmail," said a disgusted Brian Gregory of the ABD. "You could say this about any tax cut, or use it to justify any tax rise. It is emotive nonsense that shows how desparate Mr Blair is to defend his position and recover his waning popularity."
Taxation levied by the Government to pay for essential services should be fair. Fuel tax is not. Using a car is just as essential for most people as heating their home - but you donít see 450% tax on central heating. Rural families on lower incomes, forced to run two cars to allow both partners to work and to deliver children to school can easily end up paying more in fuel tax than income tax. Thatís not fair - its ruinous!
Tax should also be raised in a way that encourages the enterprise economy to flourish - that way, more tax revenues are received because more business is done. High fuel taxes do nothing but damage the economy, preventing choice, smothering opportunity and adding cost to every single business transaction.
"Fuel tax is at the root of rip off Britain," says ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries. "It just exports prosperity. From the trucking companies that are relocating by the score to Holland to every small farmer or manufacturing company, everyone is affected - and everything goes up in price."
Mr Blairís cynical message also reveals the true motivation behind these draconian fuel tax rises that Mr Prescott assured us were essential on environmental grounds. They are simply a cynical exercise in raising the most money for the least political fallout - a true stealth tax.
"When oil prices were falling, they shoved up the tax," says Bernard Abrams, ABD Science and Environment spokesman. "Nobody noticed because the pump price didnít go up much. Now oil prices have increased again, Blair sidekick Lord MacDonald hopes that he can pass the blame for soaring petrol prices onto oil companies and hard pressed petrol retailers. Weíre determined not to let him get away with it."
The ABD calls on the Government to stop this cynical rip off which results in motorists contributing one pound in every seven pounds the Government spends. Lets make this highway robbery politically unacceptable, and force the government to stop hiding its tax increases from the public.
If they want better hospitals and schools, they should cut down the burgeoning army of whitehall and town hall bureaucrats and spin doctors who do nothing but make work for one another. They should also invest in a decent, low cost transport infrastructure - road and rail - that gets Britian moving again and so increases tax revenues by building prosperity.