This is one of what is becoming a series of blogposts written in half an hour of my lunch break. Hopefully this will force me not to ramble on at ridiculous length.
I was very pleased to see in the news that MPs will be having a parliamentary debate petrol prices.
This is thanks mainly to a petition on the government petition website reaching the requirement of 100,000 signatures. A while back I talked about how I thought that high petrol prices were hurting the economy and how the government needs to lower them. The debate will, according to the BBC, focus mainly on whether or not to scrap Januarys increase in fuel duty but there is also a proposal to scrap the VAT increase on petrol.
All I can say is that it's good that this is being debated in parliament. When people on low incomes are spending a high percentage of their wages on petrol just in order to get around (and let's not forget, the state of the public transport system in this country means that anyone not living in a city does need a car) then it will only lead to them cutting back on spending elsewhere - exactly the opposite of what the economy needs right now.
On top of that, the increase in fuel prices has actually cost the treasury money because people are quite literally being priced off the road and therefore the government gets a lower amount of net tax from petrol sales (not to mention the loss of revenue from road tax, VAT on insurance policies, etc).
So hopefully our MPs will show some sense and at least take measures to keep fuel prices static so at least people won't be burdened with even more demands on their finances at a time when most people have gone without pay increases for three years.
One other thing I quite like about this is that it shows that the new petition system is actually working and that parliament will at least listen to the public even if they won't always decide to do what they want. It's certainly a marked improvement on the No. 10 petition website from the Labour era where it didn't matter how popular a petition was as they were all ignored - predictably leading to people not taking the petition website seriously. In short, a typical New Labour example of style over substance.
And that at least I think we can say is a general improvement of this government on the last one. I don't agree with a lot of what this government is doing but at least they've stopped Labour's patronising tradition of spin and vanity projects designed to distract the public and consume a lot of money without doing anything.