PM accuses Sir Keir Starmer of ‘clobbering’ drivers

Rishi Sunak has accused Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of “clobbering” drivers through the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).

The Prime Minister said the Conservatives are “not the party that is putting in levies”.

The Labour Party claimed the Government has “hammered motorists”.

Labour’s Mayor of London Sadiq Khan extended the Ulez to cover the whole of the capital on August 29.

Drivers who enter the area in vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are required to pay a £12.50 daily fee.

In the weeks before the expansion, Sir Keir called on Mr Khan to “reflect” carefully on the policy, and said cities across the UK should look at other options for tackling air pollution instead of schemes similar to Ulez.

Asked on his trip to India about policies affecting motorists, Mr Sunak told reporters: “It’s Sadiq Khan and the Labour Party and Sir Keir Starmer who are clobbering your readers and everyone else with Ulez.

“Clearly (it) is not right – at a time when people have challenges with the cost of living – to be saying to them, ‘you have got to pay £12.50 every time you pick up your kids from school or you do your weekly shop or see your GP’.

“That’s clearly not right and demonstrates that they don’t have the right priorities.

“For our part, I as the (then) chancellor, we as the Government, not only (did) we freeze fuel duty and have frozen it for many, many years, I cut it by pretty much the largest amount ever, saving drivers about £100 this year.

“On top of that, the work that we’ve done with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to put in place a pump watch scheme … is going to put better price transparency around what’s happening at petrol forecourts.”

In August, the CMA said it had set out the “technical standards” for a voluntary system enabling retailers to publish live fuel prices.

Asda is the only large retailer to begin publishing its pump prices online.

In July, the Government pledged to hand new powers to a public organisation to closely monitor fuel prices and alert ministers if intervention is needed.

The Prime Minister said the planned ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030 “remains Government policy”.

He added that “in the here and now what people care about is how much they’re paying” for fuel.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Conservatives have hammered motorists and stood idly by while petrol prices soared, car insurance rocketed and fewer potholes get fixed.

“Now, Rishi Sunak is hoping the public forget that clean air zones are his own Government’s policy and that it was a Tory mayor who created Ulez.

“He’s out of touch and is trying to take people for fools.

“Labour’s plans will lower bills, tackle the cost of living crisis and put money back in people’s pockets.”