Fuel prices, prescription charges and TV licences all rise

01-04-2009

Fuel prices, prescription charges and TV licences all rise
From today the people of Britain will see their finances stretched even further as fuel prices rise, prescription charges are increased and the TV licence also rises.

From Wednesday fuel duty increased by 1.84p per litre - the second rise since July 2008.

Following petrol and diesel price falls over the last year – after the massive peak in oil prices ebbed away – the cost at pumps is rising again.

Official data from the Office for National Statistics show the average price of petrol rose by 3.2p per litre between January and February this year, to stand at 89.5p. Diesel prices were up by 2.1p per litre.

Will Thomas, head of motor insurance at Confused.com, explained the petrol price hike came despite prime minister Gordon Brown promising not to raise fuel duty for a year.

"This latest rise will mean that 66 pence of an average litre of fuel will be pocketed by the Treasury," he said.

"This fuel duty rise will not only affect drivers, but will eventually filter down to affect all end users. All services will be affected as businesses attempt to absorb increased running costs, and consumers increasingly find that public transport and delivery of goods will become more expensive."

Theo de Pencier, chief of the Freight Transport Association, added: "A couple of pence here and there may not seem like much, but when you're already working to the tightest of margins, every penny counts.

"For some companies they've been given Hobson's choice: pay the increases and risk having to sack your workforce, or don’t pay and see your fleet taken off the road. It's a lose-lose situation."

He added a moratorium on increases in fuel duty and discretionary fees from the government would be far cheaper than having to deal with the fallout of mass redundancies.

Today also see prescription charges increase by 10p from £7.20 for England.

Charges for simplest and most common dental treatments will rise 30p to £16,50, while the maximum charge for complex NHS dental treatments, such as the fitting of crowns, bridges or dentures, will be frozen at the existing rate of £198.

However, a prescription charge exemption for people being treated for cancer will come into force.

Neil Churchill, Asthma UK chief executive, said: "The abolition of prescription charges for people with cancer is a real cause for celebration, and is definitely a step in the right direction to addressing the unfairness of the prescription charging system.

"However, from today millions of people with other long-term conditions will have to pay even more for their medicines, which many already cannot afford.

"This grossly unequal situation can result in people not getting the medicines they need to stay in good health and even ending up in hospital."

He called on the government – as a part of the Prescription Charges Coalition – to keep its pledge to make people with long-term conditions exempt from paying prescription charges as soon as possible, and not "drag its heels until after the next General Election".

The government maintains 89 per cent of prescription items are dispensed for free.

Further pressure comes on households with the increase to the TV licence.

From today a colour TV licence will rise in cost by £3.00 to £142.50.

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