Tax­ing is­sue of the cost of petrol

Macclesfield Express - - BARLOW’S BRIEF -

THERE is not a lot of things more sat­is­fy­ing than filling up your car for less than you paid last year – but are we get­ting a fair deal?

The world price of oil has slumped to $50 per bar­rel, from its peak of $140 in 2007. That’s a drop of almost two thirds but pump prices have fallen by only a quar­ter, so how come?

I’ll tell you how come: the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment adds 58p per litre on petrol re­gard­less of the cost. OPEC could give oil away and you would still pay the gov­ern­ment that amount.

The only vari­able in tax in­come is VAT, so the fall in world oil prices has cost the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment very lit­tle. They grab the same amount of tax what­ever the cir­cum­stances. The only peo­ple who have suf­fered are the pro­duc­ing coun­tries.

It won’t es­cape their at­ten­tion that the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is mak­ing more money tax­ing oil than OPEC do pro­duc­ing it. They will make us pay for that when the world price of oil moves up­wards – wouldn’t you?

If you baked bread and sold it for 20p per loaf then dis­cov­ered the lo­cal coun­cil added 50p onto the re­tail price you’d con­sider you were sell­ing your bread too cheaply.

Why would you al­low a coun­cil to make 50p clear profit for do­ing noth­ing? You’d feel ex­ploited and so will the Rus­sians and Saudis. So, I’m sorry to spoil the party but pre­pare your­self for a back­lash the mo­ment oil mar­kets im­prove. And guess what? Min­is­ters will raise their hands in frus­tra­tion blam­ing it all on the ‘greedy’ mem­bers of OPEC.

NB: While we are on the sub­ject of greed, can we have some sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in gas and elec­tric­ity prices please?

En­ergy com­pa­nies lost no time in­creas­ing their prices when costs rose.

Whole­sale gas prices have fallen by 30 per cent in the past year. It’s time to re­cip­ro­cate.

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