8p fuel duty rise will force one in five to cut back on food shopping

Published on Monday, 28 November 2011 11:18
Written by Scott Buckler

Two fuel duty rises next year, with VAT adding 8p to petrol and diesel pump prices, will force 18% of AA members to cut back on grocery shopping, AA research reveals. That rises to 23% among women

Retailers will be further hit by the 23% who will abandon or delay spending on household goods, home improvements and luxury items. That rises to more than a third among those aged 18 to 34 years, the group looking to set up home and start families.

The hardest hit will be young drivers aged 18 to 24, with 28% cutting back on groceries and 36% who will ditch plans to buy furniture, home entertainment and other household goods in the near future.

AA members in Wales look set to suffer most with 22% cutting back on groceries and 27% on household and luxury goods. They are followed closely by drivers in the East Midlands, respectively 21% and 25%.

Overall, only 20% of AA members would be unaffected by the duty increases – 24% among top managers and professionals but falling to 15% among skilled and unskilled manual and service workers.

Almost two-thirds of the survey panel say they will cut back on car use if the fuel duty rises go ahead next year, rising to 68%-69% among unskilled workers and pensioners. More significantly, 6% of AA members said they would have to sell or take a car off the road, rising to 8% among unskilled workers, pensioners and drivers in Northern Ireland.

One in five of the UK sample said they would have to downsize a car, while 6% will forgo their cars and switch to two wheels, particularly among unskilled workers (10%)."Fuel duty contributes more than 5% to the total UK tax-take, including council tax and income tax. Governments tell us to drive less when they need us to drive more.  So who really is car dependent? This survey shows that, if fuel duty increases go ahead next year, it will hit those who can least afford it,” says Edmund King, the AA’s president.

The writing is on the wall for those who choose to read it: September’s online retailing up 8.25% on the same time last year and ONS statistics showing that the poorest 20 per cent of households are paying almost twice as much of their income in duties on fuel than the richest 20 per cent (3.4% v 1.9%).

“The discriminatory nature of fuel duty comes over loud and clear in this new AA/Populus survey: younger households more likely to have to cut back on food shopping, more unskilled workers cutting back on car use or being forced out of their cars, and one in four higher-income drivers not bothered by the duty rises compared to one in seven lower-income drivers.”


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