London, 10 May 2004.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Chancellor Must Cut Fuel Taxes Now!
The ABD today reminds Britains drivers that the UK has by far the highest average fuel prices in Europe and that 59p of an 80p pump price goes directly to the government, very little of which gets spent on the roads.
Diesel prices in particular are far lower in Europe. The UK price is now over 80p per litre yet in almost all European countries it is below 55p. This not only affects the many diesel car users but also, by forcing up costs for van and truck operators means we all pay an artificially high price for all goods delivered to stores — from Cornflakes to Cars.
Petrol is now above 80p a litre here — a ridiculous level when it is still well below 70p in most of Europe and below 60p in Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Greece and Czech Republic.
Recent pronouncements from Kim Howells, Transport Minister, however indicate the government has no intention of reducing the tax burden on drivers and vehicle operators. He indicated that fuel taxes should go no lower and stated that he felt the best way of getting drivers to switch to public transport "probably is to try to tax people out of their cars in the same way as the authorities have tried to tax people off cigarettes" followed by "I don't think fuel is particularly expensive in Britain." How out of touch can a government minister be?
No country taxes motorists like the UK, yet of the £46 billion collected each year by our cash hungry government, only around £6 billion is spent on our crumbling, archaic road system. One only has to cross to France, Germany, Switzerland or Spain to see good examples of what can be achieved with proper investment in roads with surfaces which are both safer and more pleasant to drive and cycle upon. Dangerous junctions are improved, whilst towns and villages are bypassed, often making use of tunnels. Any sizeable town boasts underground parking and a bypass, making life better for the inhabitants, whether on foot, cycle or in their car. Here, one is hard pushed to find any underground parking and bypass building virtually ceased in the nineties resulting in congested and dangerous town centres.
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said:
'This extortionate milking of the motorist has to stop. This government sees drivers as nothing more than a cash cow. The average road in the UK would have signs warning of poor road conditions if it were in France or Spain yet we are paying far more in extortionate taxes. How have we been allowed to fall so far behind when we are charged so much?'
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
'The government had a stroke of luck after the last fuel protests when the price of crude oil went down. This eased the pressure on drivers and vehicle operators enabling the chancellor to avoid cutting duty. However, that luck has now run out and prices are at their highest for 13 years. How much more will drivers and vehicle operators take'?


Notes for Editors