Do something, Rishi! ‘Insane’ fuel prices condemned after protests shut down M4

Average cost of filling family car with petrol set to hit £100

Dozens of campaigners who are calling for a cut in fuel duty targeted the busy in South Wales and Somerset, and stretches of the M5 from Devon to Bristol, with further protests on the A38 in Devon and at a Tesco petrol station in Shepton Mallet. Elsewhere, there were demonstrations on the M54 in Shropshire, near the Ferrybridge services in West Yorkshire, on the A64 in the York area, on the M180 near Scunthorpe, and on the A12 in Essex.

Commenting, Julia Kermode, Founder of Independent Work Ltd, said: “The Chancellor simply MUST do something.

“Spiralling fuel prices mean that people have to get second jobs in order to afford to go to work for their first.

“The UK’s army of temporary workers, which so many businesses are reliant on right now, can’t afford their journeys to work.”

M4 traffic jams

The gridlocked M4 (Image: GETTY)


Long queues on the M4 this morning (Image: Media Wales)

She added: “Gig economy workers who are on the road delivering our parcels, our takeaways, and ourselves in the case of private hire drivers, cannot afford to work.

“People need to be able to earn money, and the economy needs people to be able earn money. Action is clearly needed as the last fuel duty cut simply didn’t cut it.”

Esme Marshwitch, owner of glassware manufacturer The Glassy Witch, added: “Fuel prices are absolutely insane at present, and our Government absolutely can - and should - be doing something about it.

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Police on the M4

Police on the M4 (Image: Media Wales)

“The energy companies have recorded huge profits yet again, but while they have a captive audience of people forced to rely on fossil fuels for transport, it is little wonder they feel no sense of urgency to invest in and promote more sustainable options.

“Around half the cost of each litre goes straight in to the Government’s coffers, so they aren’t really that interested in doing anything either.”

Meanwhile public transport is “unfeasibly expensive”, as well as “utterly unreliable and inconvenient”, Ms Marshwitch said.

She added: “We have a Government that simply doesn’t care. Why should they, when their travel is paid for by us anyway?

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Police on a flyover bridge over the M4

Police on a flyover bridge over the M4 (Image: Media Wales)

Protesters M4

Protesters on the M4 brought the motorway to a standstill (Image: Media Wales)

“I can only afford to attend events I can walk to these days, and I have noticed that attendance is similarly down, with only the most local of people coming along as vendors or purchasers. I really want to find something positive in all this, but I’m struggling.”

Graham Cox, Director of Mortgage Broker SEMH, said: “Rishi Sunak should cut fuel duty significantly.

“There’s an argument that the effect on the government’s coffers would be negligible anyway because people are driving less to save on fuel.

“A big cut, as long as it was passed on by the petrol stations, would get people driving more.”

Fuel costs UK

Fuel costs in the UK compared (Image: Express)

In a series of 30mph rolling roadblocks starting at 7am, the protesters were able to bring disruption to road networks during the morning rush-hour.

The protests are understood to have been organised via social media under the banner Fuel Price Stand Against Tax.

Gwent Police chief superintendent Tom Harding later confirmed a total of 12 people were arrested during the fuel price protest on the M4.

All were arrested for breaching the legal notice issued by the police prior to the protest by driving at under 30 mph for “a prolonged amount of time”.

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Image: GETTY)

Chief Supt Harding said: “Over the last two weeks, we have been working jointly with a number of partners to ensure that emergency and critical services could continue and to prevent serious disruption to both road users and local communities.

“The right to protest under UK law must be balanced with the rights of the wider community who may be affected. By implementing restrictions on the moving protest, we aimed to protect the public and local communities.”

He added: “Along with partners, we identified that failing to comply with the legal notice requirements would lead to emergency and critical services being restricted therefore posing a risk to local communities, action was taken when I deemed these risks existed.

“We are aware of other driving offences, not connected to the protest, such as the use of a mobile phone whilst driving. These offences will be dealt with appropriately.”

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