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Mr Johnson dodged calls from Labour for more assistance to struggling families when Rishi Sunak delivers the Spring statement on March 23.
But Keir Starmer predicted a U-turn as the Ukraine war sends energy costs spiralling and Britons brace for a £12billion national insurance rise within weeks.
The price of fuel has smashed through the £2-a-litre mark in London in a grim sign of pain to come for drivers.
Tory MPs are already pushing for a reduction in fuel duty, and Ireland today announced a cut of 20 cent per litre on petrol and 15 cent per litre of diesel.
The 320million euro move takes effect from Thursday and will last until August 31.
Sir Keir said the typical energy bill will increase by £700 from next month due to pressures which existed before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – and will soar far higher in the summer when the energy cap is adjusted again.
Boris Johnson (left) dodged calls from Keir Starmer (right) for more assistance to struggling families when Rishi Sunak delivers the Spring statement on March 23
Diesel on sale at almost £1.86 per litre in a BP Petrol Station in Grays Essex today
Fuel prices on display at a Circle K service station on Glasnevin Avenue in Dublin – where a duty cut has been announced
Rishi Sunak (pictured in Westminster yesterday) was not present for the PMQs clashes today
He called for a ‘windfall tax’ on the profits of gas and oil firms to generate further funds to help working families.
The Government will give all 28million households in Britain a £200 up-front rebate on their energy bills from October, but the advance will be recouped by adding £40 per year to bills for five years from 2023.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also promised a £150 council tax rebate for homes in bands A to D.
Sir Keir told the Commons: ‘The big gamble behind that policy was that energy costs would drop quickly after a short spike. That bet now looks certain to fail. When will the Prime Minister force the Chancellor into a U-turn?’
Mr Johnson replied: ‘The Chancellor has set out plans to help families with energy costs with unprecedented measures to abate council tax by £150 in addition to all the other schemes that we are putting forward.
‘Yes, he’s absolutely right that we need to meet the long-term impacts of the spike in energy prices and that’s why I will be setting out an energy independence plan for this country in the course of the next few days to ensure that we undo some of the damage of previous decisions taken, not least by the Labour government not to invest in nuclear, and so that we prepare our people for the long term and its sustainable, cost efficient energy supply.’
Sir Keir said: ‘We will see how long that position lasts.’
Mr Johnson said the result of a windfall tax ‘would simply be to see the oil companies put their prices up yet higher’.
But Sir Keir said: ‘I don’t think the Prime Minister understands the mess he’s in. Working families are facing a £700 spike in April, they won’t even receive their £200 loan from the Chancellor until October.
‘The wholesale price of oil and gas is now ballooning, so by October when the loan finally comes in household bills are set to shoot up by another £1,000. It’s a total mess, so I ask again, when is the Prime Minister going to force the Chancellor to U-turn?’
Mr Johnson said the Government was ‘junking’ the ‘failed energy policies’ from the previous Labour government.
He added: ‘We’ll make sure as a House of Commons we work together to maintain our opposition to Vladimir Putin’s vile war in Ukraine and there together, with the toughest possible economic sanctions, by maintaining our military support for the people of Ukraine, I have no doubt that though there will be dark days ahead and difficult times we will come through it stronger.
‘I’ve no doubt Vladimir Putin will fail and we will succeed in restoring a sovereign and independent Ukraine.’
Queues for petrol at Costco Watford today as prices rise again to record levels
Drivers are suffering ‘unbelievable financial pain’ as the cost of a tank of diesel for a Ford Focus hit £85 on Tuesday— up £1.50 in 24 hours – and a tank of unleaded is £81.01, and both could hit £90 in March. A large family car will now cost more than £100 to fill up and a gas-guzzling 4×4 Land Rover north of £165 per tank.
Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Tuesday was 158.2p, up from 156.4p on Monday. The average cost of a litre of diesel reached a new high of 165.2p on Tuesday, up from 162.3p on Monday. These are all record highs.
One petrol station in Chelsea is charging 219p-a-litre for diesel – a wallet-hammering £10-per-gallon – and more than 218.9p for unleaded. Prices of more than 190p are being seen outside the capital with queues forming at cheaper forecourts to beat the daily price hikes – not because of any shortages.
One Welsh filling station, the Moto Services at junction 47 of the M4 near Swansea, is already charging 192.9p for diesel as prices continue to soar. Pictures also showed 199.9p for diesel outside Norwich, 189.9p on the A23 near Brighton and 185.9p in Grays, Essex.
RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: ‘The cost of filling a 55-litre family car with petrol is now £87 – £7 more than it was at the start of the year. Diesel drivers are even worse off with a tank now costing more than £90 for the first time ever — £8 more than in early January’.
Source: Daily Mail