Andrea Jenkyns: We must do all we can to support drivers

Ahead of the Autumn Budget, I have teamed up with Fair Fuel UK once again to fight for drivers, as they continue to battle against unfairly high fuel duties and often terrible road conditions.

Drivers form a crucial part of our economy. They often represent small, family run mobile businesses that work incredibly hard to provide valuable services and goods, while employing local people. As my father ran a road haulage company, I understand the sacrifices drivers make to keep their businesses successful and support their families. We, as politicians, must do all we can to support drivers and ensure they are able to continue growing their businesses, in turn improving the economy and living standards locally and across the country.

One way the government can support drivers is by lowering fuel duty. Four out of five diesel drivers have to drive minimum distances every day, and they would have to drive that distance regardless of higher taxes. This shows that increasing taxes on diesel drivers would not improve the environment, it would only punitively punish drivers, meaning less employment and a decrease in valuable services across the nation.

If the Chancellor freezes fuel duty for the remainder of the current Parliament, it is expected that UK households would save £14bn. That is a staggering amount, and one of the main reasons why I will continue working with colleagues to encourage the Chancellor to freeze fuel duty again at the upcoming budget.

Another way we can support drivers is by improving the condition of roads. Poor roads can cause terrible damage to vehicles, forcing people to spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds on unnecessary maintenance. They also increase the likelihood of accidents, shamefully putting lives at risk. Since my election in 2015 I have been running a ‘Pothole Patrol’ campaign whereby constituents can write to me with pictures and locations of potholes and I will raise those potholes with the council directly. This campaign has received a lot of attention, showing me the poor condition of the roads we drive on locally. That is why I was delighted to see the Chancellor’s announcement of a £1.2 billion roads fund last year, available to local councils to improve roads. I will be looking out for a similar announcement in this upcoming budget, and I will continue pressing the council to provide the safe and reliable infrastructure drivers need to continue making their trade and supporting their families.

On another note, I was shocked to see that vandals had broken in to St Paul’s Church in Alverthorpe and caused cruel vandalism. Churches are often the centres of our communities, they provide welcoming spaces for people to come together and they should be treated with the utmost respect. I encourage everyone to donate to the repair operation, in order to see the beautiful site return to its best shape. Please donate at www.gofundme.com/st-Pauls-church-vandalism-clean-up. Thank you for reading my column. If you have any questions or would like to get in touch, go to www.andreajenkyns.co.uk/contact-andrea.