Families go without essentials to fill their cars

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FURTHER rises in petrol prices could be the final straw for families and businesses struggling to make ends meet.

Many residents in South Holland say they are forced to make filling up a priority because of the rural nature of the area and the lack of public transport – but many fear if the prices at the pumps go up they will have to look at the journeys they make in a bid to make savings.

On Tuesday, MPs demanded the Chancellor consider scrapping a 3p fuel duty rise planned for January after a debate was triggered by Downing Street e-petition signed by 100,000 voters.

The motion was passed without a vote, but Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned that the rise could still go ahead because there isn’t enough money in the Treasury coffers.

But Diane Clay, manager of South Holland Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Most families need their cars for getting to work and that can often mean cutting down on other essentials to maintain jobs.

“This proposed increase could well be the final straw for many when you add it to other increasing costs such as energy prices and the cost of food.”

Spalding mum-of-two Julie Bull says she has no choice but to put fuel in her car as her youngest son is disabled and unable to walk very far.

She said: “The price of fuel is absolutely shocking but I have to use the car wherever we go because my son can’t walk.

“It’s hard to make ends meet, times are hard, so another three pence will make it even harder.”

Another young mum, Nichola Good (29), of Spalding, is due to return to work in Peterborough part-time in January when her maternity leave ends, but said she could be forced to reconsider and find work closer to home because of the cost of the 40-mile a day round trip.

And Glynis Kemp, owner of GMK Panic Link, a refrigerated transport courier service based in Holbeach, said she is already having to carefully plan her drivers’ journeys in a bid to rein in her current £7,000 weekly fuel bill for her seven-vehicle fleet.

She said: “We are really having to forward plan already and it’s just going to get worse in the new year.

“I have been going for 12 years and my fuel bill has doubled in that time.

“Higher fuel prices affect everyone as we have to pass the cost on to our customers, who then pass it on to the retailers and ultimately to the shoppers.”