Three Government sources reportedly said the Prime Minister had expressed fury that the 5p-a-litre cut to fuel duty was failing to materialise at many pumps after being announced in March. The move comes at the time when Mr Johnson has already been facing growing Tory pressure over his leadership, with an increasing number of MPs submitting letters of no confidence in Mr Johnson, and three ministers publicly criticising Downing Street over the partygate scandal.
Sources told the Telegraph: “On Mr Johnson’s orders, Department for Transport officials have been tasked with drawing up proposals to ‘expose’ those failing to pass on the cut.
“Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has suggested a Government-run ‘forecourt watch’ or ‘pump watch’ scheme to name and shame offending firms.”
A Downing Street source told the publication: “Officials are considering mechanisms available to expose those companies that aren’t passing on tax benefits to consumers.”
“Mr Johnson’s war on petrol retailers follows the announcement of a windfall tax on oil and gas firms last week.
The RAC has said that retailers are “taking on average 2p a litre more” than they were before the 5p cut.
Last week, senior ministers discussed the idea of imposing a similar tax on petrol firms, it has been reported.
During a Cabinet telephone call, Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, pointed out that gross profits from fuel sales reported by EG Group, the forecourt giant, increased by 16 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
But a Government source said No 10 and ministers had settled on pursuing a less “interventionist” measure.
Opposition parties have repeatedly touted the idea of a windfall tax on the record profits of oil and gas companies, saying the money raised could be used to help those struggling the most with rising living costs.
Households in the UK are being hit with rising costs when it comes to fuel, energy and food, as inflation reaches a record high in the country.