• “If the government wants to encourage people back to the office and open up city centres, it needs to look at cutting VAT on petrol and diesel” says boss of HR giant 


Fuel prices are now so high many workers are trying to persuade their employers to allow them to work from home more.

In a survey of 2,922 employees across the UK, nine in 20 (45 per cent) told Randstad UK, who conducted the poll, they are having to push for more remote working as a result of rising fuel prices.  

While a quarter were positive that rising prices won’t make a difference to their working arrangements (25 per cent), another third (35 per cent) told the recruiter they needed to wait and see.

Petrol and diesel pump prices rose 11p and 22p per litre respectively in March - the largest monthly price rise the RAC has recorded since it started monitoring prices in 2000.  Petrol hit a new record average high of 167.3p per litre on 22 March and diesel peaked at an average of 179.9p per litre on 23 March.  

It now costs approximately £90 to fill a typical 55-litre family car with petrol - almost £22 more than it did a year ago. The same car would now cost roughly £98 to brim with diesel - £28 more than 12 months ago.

The Government gets around 65 per cent of the overall cost of fuel, through fuel duty and value added tax (VAT).  The fuel duty represents the fixed price of fuel – it stays the same regardless how much overall oil prices fluctuate.  Currently, the Treasury adds 57.95 pence to each litre of fuel through fuel duty, and another 20 per cent through VAT.

Victoria Short, the CEO of Randstad UK, says: “The cut to fuel duty has failed to bring costs down.  Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Energy Agency recommended its members introduce emergency measures to restrain demand, including working from home.  Well, workers here are ahead of the game.”

However, the recruiter highlighted that the overall UK number hid regional disparities.    

While 68 per cent of UK commuters travel to work by car, minibus or van (ONS Labour Force Survey), a far higher proportion do so in Northern Ireland (84 per cent) and Wales (81 per cent) than in Scotland (70 per cent) or England (67 per cent).    

Victoria Short said: “The rise in fuel prices is a much bigger blow to workers in Northern Ireland and Wales than to those in London, say.  Londoners have public transport options, subsidised by the British taxpayer, that aren’t available in other parts of the country - I live near Manchester for example and it’s just not set up, from a public transport perspective, in the way in which London’s commuter belt is so well served - the car is often the only option here and that’s just got loads more expensive.  For people who have to drive, being hit by massive fuel bills to travel to work, while seemingly subsidising London’s transport infrastructure - which isn’t even being used by Londoners that much - must feel pretty painful.  

“On top of that, train passengers have just suffered one of the worst periods of cancellations ever due to staff shortages - so that’s not exactly a reliable option either. 

“If the government wants to encourage people back to the office and open up city centres, it needs to look at cutting VAT on petrol and diesel.”


– ENDS –


ONS data on commuting: here 


RAC data on fuel prices: here 


International Energy Agency measures: here


More Information: James@AirCoverPR.co.uk / 079 0320 7726


About Randstad: Founded in 1960, Randstad is the world's largest provider of recruitment and HR services (by revenue, gross profit, and market share), employing more than 40,000 people in 5,000 locations.  In 2021, it helped more than two million candidates to find a job; trained over 450,000 people; and advised 235,000 clients on various aspects of their HR strategy - from talent acquisition to total workforce management.  It generated revenue of almost €25 billion last year across 38 markets.  For more information, see www.randstad.com.