If you’re covering the Government’s road fuel price data published today, the following comments from James Andrews, personal finance expert at Money.co.uk, might be of interest:
“This is a hammer blow for the lowest paid. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the nightmare scenario of a combination of rail strikes and surging fuel prices is inflicting maximum pain on people just trying to get to work.
“Businesses also face being dragged down by a slightly different combination of factors — spiking fuel prices exacerbating a labour shortage, which will weigh on profits and limit their ability to raise wages in line with inflation. This vicious cycle could help tip the UK into recession in a matter of months.
“During the rail strike, many of those who can work from home will, ironically, end up better off having avoided shelling out money on fares or even petrol if offices are closed. But spare a thought for the millions of people who will be fighting to get to jobs they can’t do from home. This will hit those on the lowest incomes disproportionately.
“Prices at the pumps are ticking higher almost every day, piling huge pressure on the Government to do something to ease the strain. It has so far resisted cutting fuel duty by more than the 5p announced in the Budget and could now be gambling on fuel prices peaking in order to avoid caving in to these demands.
“But the fact remains that the Treasury is raking in far more money on each tank of fuel than it was before the war in Ukraine began thanks to VAT. If prices don’t peak soon, that’s going to be very hard to justify at a time people are struggling with a cost of living crisis.
“There does still seem to be considerable variation in what is being charged on different forecourts with accusations of profiteering rife, meaning people should absolutely check prices before they head out to fill up if possible. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is also investigating and a timely intervention by them could bring prices down quicker than they rose. We can only hope.”
James has spent the past 15 years writing and editing personal finance news, specialising in consumer rights, pensions, insurance, property and investments - picking up a series of awards for his journalism along the way.