Lord Howell: Halve fuel duty to help deal with cost of living crisis

Lord Howell - Andrew Crowley
Lord Howell - Andrew Crowley

Fuel duty should be halved to deal with the cost of living crisis, a former energy minister has said, as he branded Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak’s plans as “inadequate”.

Lord Howell, who served as Margaret Thatcher’s energy minister, phoned in to LBC radio on Sunday to express his disappointment in what both leadership candidates have so far committed to despite inflation and rising energy costs.

He said that “almost half the families in this nation” in the next few months will be “facing the winter with dread” unless action is taken by the Government to provide support.

“It's ridiculous that people are starving to put petrol in their tanks and paying half of that straight to the government in tax.

“I believe half the fuel tax can be taken away”.

Truss and Sunak 'not addressing the horror'

When asked what he made of the pledges of Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss to tackle the cost of living, Lord Howell said: “I think they're completely inadequate, absolutely inadequate.

“They’re not addressing the horror, the real horrific autumn, as it’s being called, that is going to paralyse the lives of vast numbers of families in this country.”

Lord Howell, who also served as minister for international energy policy under David Cameron said that the UK should now also be looking to the next five, 10 or 15 years to put in place more nuclear energy, and both investment in north sea oil and renewable energy.

It came as supporters of Liz Truss, who has already pledged to do an emergency budget to tackle the cost of living, took aim at Rishi Suank’s plans.

Penny Mordaunt, on Sunday dismissed suggestions by MPs supporting Mr Sunak, such as Angela Richardson, that Ms Truss has “ruled out” direct support payments in the winter to help families.

“She’s not ruled out all future help,” Ms Mordaunt told Sky News, adding: “But what she has, I think rightly challenged, is the wisdom of taking large sums of money out of people's pockets in tax, and then giving some of it back in evermore complicated ways.

“She was making a general point about the merits of enabling people to keep more of what they earn. And I think that is the right principle.”