Thank you for contacting me about fuel prices.
The Government recognises that fuel costs remain a significant part of business and household costs. In order to reduce living costs, and support those who are just about managing to get by, fuel duty has been frozen for a seventh successive year. In total this saves the average car driver £130 a year compared to pre-2010 fuel duty escalator plans, and the average van driver £350. This is a tax cut worth £1 billion in 2017-18, and means the current fuel duty freeze is the longest for 40 years.
The Competition and Markets Authority, the body charged with monitoring competition within UK markets, investigated the fuel retail market in 2013 in order to determine whether there was anti-competitive behaviour by market participants. It found no evidence that retailers are colluding to fix pump prices.
Reduced duty rates are offered on alternative fuels as an incentive for drivers to move to cleaner fuels. Liquefied petroleum gas, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, biomethane and aqua-methanol all benefit from reduced duty rates.
There is no legislative framework for purchase receipts, which are simply acknowledgements of payments. There is VAT legislation on when an invoice must be provided, but this only states that VAT-registered businesses are obliged to provide invoices to other VAT-registered businesses. Expanding this information to cover all forms of taxes and duties, for all private motorists as well as businesses, would dramatically increase administrative burdens for retailers, and therefore their costs. I understand that the Government therefore has no plans to implement this proposal.
Regarding investment in roads and road improvements; local roads are set to benefit from a share in up to a billion pound improvement fund as part of the new Transport Investment Strategy. The strategy sets out how transport investment can deliver a stronger, fairer Britain and sets out the need for future projects to show how they contribute to creating a more balanced economy. It champions a new long-term approach for government infrastructure spending - meaning cash will be targeted at projects that help rebalance the economy.
As part of this, Ministers are creating a 'Major Road Network' with access to a fund for improvements such as bypasses. The new plans mean that main roads currently overseen by local authorities would share the new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)-funded National Roads Fund which was previously envisaged to be ring-fenced for national routes. VED was £5.8bn for 2016/17. The Major Road Network will cover our busiest and most economically important local authority A roads.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Updated: October 2017