First, listen to the recording. Then do the Tasks and answer the Discussion question below.
Minister: Good morning. Thank you for coming. I'm ready to take your questions.
Journalist 1: Minister, your department has just announced a 3% tax increase on fuel, and yet earlier this year you stated that you had no plans to increase fuel taxes. Can you explain this change in policy?
Minister: To begin with, I'd like to make it clear that this is not a change in policy. We've always said that we will respond to changes in world markets when and as necessary. And while it is true to say that earlier in the year we saw no reason to make any changes to fuel tax, that statement applied to the situation then. As you know, oil prices have decreased dramatically in recent months, and we are simply responding to this change in the market. Consumers have been enjoying lower fuel prices for some time, but this has resulted in a decrease in our revenues. We are simply redressing the balance.
Journalist 2: Isn't it fair to say, minister, that this is yet another unfair tax on the motorist?
Minister: No, that is simply not true. As I said, fuel prices have actually gone down over recent months. This slight adjustment in fuel tax means that, in real terms, motorists are actually paying less for their petrol than at the beginning of the year. We made this adjustment so that tax revenues, which help pay for our department's commitment to environmental issues, amongst other things, will increase.
Journalist 3: In your election manifesto last year, you promised no new taxes.
Minister: With all due respect, sir, this is not a new tax.
Journalist 3: But this is an increase in taxation. Erm, doesn’t that amount to the same thing?
Minister: Ha, ha, I think that it would be a very foolish government who stated they would never raise or, for that matter, decrease taxation in response to global circumstances.
Journalist 1: But if oil prices are falling, why should the motorists have to pay more for fuel?
Minister: I’d like to say it again that in real terms, this is not an increase in fuel prices. Let me give an example. On the 31st of January, a litre of diesel cost 79.9p. Today, a litre of diesel costs 79.1p. That’s a decrease of 0.8p per litre, and you’ll find a similar decrease in the cost of petrol. Now, are there any further questions?