Petrol prices top election concerns

* Fuel duty is a top election issue * Political parties ignoring debate * Only income tax is of more concern...

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What Car? Staff
29 April 2010

With the General Election rapidly approaching, it's high petrol prices that are fuelling voters' anxieties over tax.

An Ipsos MORI poll carried out for the RAC Foundation asked voters to rate the importance of four types of taxation when it came to voting at the General Election.

Fuel and income tax worries
Income tax topped the poll with 74% rating it the most important factor, but fuel duty came a close second with 69% beating VAT (64%) and national insurance (62%) into third and fourth place.

Anxiety over fuel duty was also revealed by the poll to be at its highest in rural constituencies.

The RAC Foundation's director, Stephen Glaister, said: 'It is clear that despite all the political and media argument about national insurance, fuel duty is actually the more important taxation issue on the doorstep.

'Government figures show the price of a litre of unleaded continues to reach new highs. At an average of 121p it is up almost 0.5p in a week and a fifth above the price of a year ago.'

Politicians ignoring public's concern
Professor Gleister also said that while the main parties have pushed transport issues down the political agenda, fuel taxation has become a major issue at the heart of the election campaign.

He said: 'With car-owning households spending around 14% of their disposable incomes on buying and running a vehicle, the cost of staying mobile is in danger of becoming prohibitive.

'You can only tax people so far, and if you force drivers off the road through over taxation you risk snuffing out economic recovery.'