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Transport poverty hits 800,000 homes, says RAC

A person using a petrol pump Image copyright PA
Image caption The RAC is calling for a reduction in fuel duty

The poorest 10% of car-owning households in the UK are spending more than a quarter of their disposable income on buying and running a vehicle, research suggests.

More than 800,000 homes are "mired in transport poverty" as a result, the RAC Foundation said.

Of the total £167 they spend each week, £44 goes on car-related expenses.

By contrast, the richest car-owning households spend 12% of their income on buying and running a vehicle.

Of the £44, £16 goes on fuel and £8.30 on insurance, with £4.80 going on repairs and servicing.

The research is based on "previously unreleased" data from the Office for National Statistics, the RAC said.

"These figures should shock the chancellor," said Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

"We already knew transport was the single biggest area of household expenditure bar none. But this spending breakdown just for car-owning households is not normally available.

"It lays bare the truth about the extent of transport poverty in the UK."

'Titanic'

Prof Glaister called on the government to reduce fuel duty, which accounts for almost 60 pence in every litre of petrol. The average cost of a litre of petrol in the UK is currently about 140p.

He said "tinkering" with the level of duty in the upcoming Budget was like "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic".

"To make any meaningful difference to those on the lowest incomes the rate will need to be cut much further."

Petrol prices have been rising this year and many expect further modest rises in the short term.

There has been widespread concern about the rise of fuel poverty in the UK, which is defined as those spending more than 10% of income on home heating. This research suggests transport poverty is a more pressing problem for the poorest households.

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