Environment secretary Hilary Benn has been criticised for apparently saying high fuel prices are a good thing because people are forced to use their cars less. During an interview on the BBC’s Politics Show yesterday Benn said that spiralling fuel costs are an ‘incentive’ for people to cut down on car use.
The Tories have criticised Benn for the comment saying that families are under immense pressure to make ends meet. Benn also defended Government plans to increase road tax for older polluting vehicles.
Speaking about fuel prices, he said: ‘When one looks at the price of petrol and diesel, well that too is acting as an incentive to everyone, to try and reduce use of fuel and reduce emissions.’
Presenter Susanna Reid asked Benn how increasing tax for cars as far back as 2001 would encourage people to go green. ‘Lower emitting vehicles and since three out of every four cars that is sold in the country, are actually second-hand cars, not new ones, it's important that you have a change that also applies to the second-hand market, as it does to new cars,’ added Benn.
Tory shadow Treasury minister Justine Greening said last night: ‘Hilary Benn seems completely out of touch with the cost-of-living pressures families across Britain are facing.’
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