A CONSERVATIVE MP was yesterday thwarted in his attempt to make petrol stations print the total tax paid on every fuel receipt, amid a coalition split over today’s Energy Bill debate.
Robert Halfon, who represents Harlow, pushed an amendment that would have required garages to offer a breakdown of fuel duty, the cost of the oil, and the amount contributed towards road maintenance.
“We need to know how much of our fuel duty is tax and much how the oil companies are ripping us off,” he told City A.M.
“Cost of living will decide the next election.”
Halfon said the government was sympathetic to the idea but civil servants feared they would have to make other businesses, such as pubs, also print taxes on their receipts.
“My response was ‘so what?’” said the MP, who pledged to attempt to introduce the rule as a private member’s bill after Speaker Bercow decided not to debate his amendment.
His intervention is symptomatic of the split between Conservative backbenchers who fear energy costs could be pushed up by strict new carbon reduction targets and Lib Dem MPs who want to take strong action against the threat of climate change.
Some Lib Dems are today expected to rebel against the coalition and back a plan by Tory MP Tim Yeo and Labour’s Barry Gardiner to commit Britain to a “near carbon-free power sector” by 2030. If passed, this would require the costly replacement of most coal and gas-fired power stations within the next decade.
Yesterday energy secretary Ed Davey said he opposed Yeo and Gardiner’s plan and stood by his decision to delay setting a final decarbonisation date until 2016.