100,000 sign fuel costs e-petition

A petition demanding Government action on spiralling fuel costs has received the 100,000 signatures needed to trigger a Commons debate.

The online petition, calling for planned fuel duty increases to be scrapped and for a mechanism to stabilise prices at the pumps, passed the threshold on Friday evening.

It is only the third to receive 100,000 signatures on the Government's e-petitions website since it was set up to give the public a more direct influence on Westminster.

The first, signed now by more than 247,000 people, called for rioters and looters involved in last month's widespread disturbances to lose their benefits.

The other, signed by more than 139,000, demanded the release of Cabinet papers about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster which killed 96 Liverpool FC fans.

Tory MP Robert Halfon, who backed the fuel duty petition, said the number of signatures gained since it was set up in July was an indication of the strength of feeling surrounding the issue.

"Cutting fuel duty now must be a priority for the Chancellor, over and above the clamour to cut taxes for millionaires," he said.

"Rip-off petrol and diesel prices are now so high they are a poverty trap, keeping people on benefits as job-seekers can't afford to travel. Many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. And to those do-gooders who say we shouldn't be using cars, I say 'get in the real world'."

He said he would be urging the Government to set up a Royal Commission on the issue and put more pressure on oil companies to lower prices.

Peter Carroll, organiser of the FairFuelUK campaign said: "The public have spoken loud and clear. They see the price of petrol and diesel as right at the top of their agenda. People are looking to the politicians to understand that a cut in fuel duty would stimulate growth and have the added benefit of reducing inflation."