Howard Cox

Howard Cox

Credentials

  • Brockley County Grammar School (1966-1973). [1]

Background

Howard Cox is co-founder and PR advisor of Kent-based pressure group Fair Fuel UK. Launched in 2011, the organisation campaigns to reduce charges on petrol and diesel vehicles, most notably fuel duty. On Fair Fuel’s website, Cox and co-founder Quentin Willson claim to have “saved drivers over £110bn in planned tax hikes in duty and VAT through constructive and objective campaigning”. [2]

Fair Fuel is funded by industry groups Logistics UK and the Road Haulage Association, both listed as “founding backers” on its website. The group claims on its homepage to represent “The real independent and not for profit voice in Westminster for 37m UK drivers, who want clean air too, but want this accomplished without being demonised, blamed and continually treated as easy cash cows”. [2]

Cox and Willson appear regularly in the national media to campaign against increases in fuel duty. Cox is regularly quoted in publications including The Sun and the Daily Express [3], [4]

Cox’s Linkedin states that he won the CIPR (Chartered Institute for Public Relations) Public Affairs award in 2012. His profile also states he was “highly instrumental in getting the independent Ann Barnes elected against all political odds as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent”. [1]

Cox is a Fellow of the Institute for Independent Business, a network supporting owners of independent businesses, and runs a business development consultancy firm for UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). [1][5]

Cox also serves on the editorial board of Heavy Torque, a magazine focusing on issues concerning the heavy and abnormal transport sector. [6]

Stance on Climate Change

February 28, 2020

Responding to BBC coverage of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg’s visit to Bristol for a “Youth Strike 4 Climate” event, Cox tweeted:

@BBCNews worshipping at the altar of @GretaThunberg – no balance in their reporting just ‘she is an inspiration’. She is indeed impressive, she’s backed by £000000’s but please can we hear both sides of the #ClimateChange argument.” [7]

Key Quotes

July 17, 2021

Before appearing on GB News to speak on a panel about electric cars, Cox tweeted that calling electric cars “the future” is: [20]

“A controversial virtual [sic] signalling mindset we are being forced into, that will cost UK £trillions. There’s better less costly ways to lower emissions w/o Govt’s ill-informed 2030 fossil fuel ban”.

September 18, 2020

Cox criticised reports that Conservative ministers were pushing for an earlier ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, from 2035 to 2030. He tweeted[8]

Who are the 100 Tory MPs said to be urging a ban of petrol/diesel car sales be brought forward to 2030? These ill-informed MPs do not represent the majority of their constituents & they were not elected on this dishonest pledge. @fairfueluk will fight this betrayal.”

September 1, 2020

In a talkRADIO interview with Alistair Stewart, Cox characterised fuel taxes as: [9] 

a regressive tax that impacts low income drivers and small businesses more than any other tax”, stating that increasing fuel duty would be “madness”.

August 7, 2020

Responding to reports that motorists had been overcharged fuel by up to £10 per tank during lockdown, Cox told the Mail Online: [10] 

‘Lycra-clad Boris is happy to hand out a £2 billion present to cyclists, yet steers away from monitoring the chronic fleecing of hard-pressed demonised motorists every time they fill up”.

February 5, 2020

In response to a government proposal to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2035, Cox was quoted in The Sun saying: [11]

The political worship at the altar of Greta Thunberg has become an embarrassment, with the Government making uncosted decisions regarding the future of our road transport.”

Key Actions

September 1, 2020

Cox was quoted in The Sun responding to reports that Chancellor Rishi Sunak planned to increase fuel duty by 5p in the Autumn Budget – later cancelled due to Covid-19. He warned

“Do not screw the commercial and social heartbeat of our economy to mollify the environmental lobby to pay off your post pandemic debt. The UK needs to recover big and fast, using incentives, not more punitive knee jerk draconian taxes.”

Cox added

“The Chancellor knows full well, lower fuel duty, as published by his own department, massively benefits growth in GDP, jobs, inflation, business investment and consumer spending.” [12][13]

July 29, 2020

Cox criticised a government proposal to ban non-electric vans from city centres in an effort to increase cycling and tackle obesity, arguing

The Prime Minister’s Lycra-clad amoebic [sic] advisors are out of touch with economic reality and majority opinion.” 

He continued

Forcing no choice but to drive hard-pressed drivers out of their vehicles through such costly virtue signalling is contemptible and regressive.”  [14]

June 21, 2020

The Daily Express quoted a tweet by Cox, calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to: 

“Get economy motoring with a cut in VAT and fuel duty. Put money back into all our pockets,” adding:

“The lockdown decline in fuel duty revenue is temporary, stimulating growth is permanent.” [15]

March 8, 2020

Fair Fuel UK carried out a survey which found that 34 percent of motorists would stop supporting the Conservative Party if Boris Johnson raised fuel duties. Cox told The Sun: 

The influence of the PM’s green tinged virtue signalling is rumoured to be clouding his economic judgement”.

He added:

A 2p increase in levy will not save the planet but will damage our post-Brexit economy. Disguising any tax increase as a benefit to the environment will be both dishonest and indefensible.” [16]

November 23, 2017

Cox was interviewed on Kent’s KMTV about electric cars, stating that:

there’s a huge amount of batteries… the cost of making those batteries is actually environmentally damaging, and when the car goes away, what do you do with those batteries?” [17]

May 7, 2017

Objecting to the Government’s plans to tackle air pollution, Cox told The Sun: 

The Government’s feeble clean air consultation plan gives free rein for cash strapped local authorities to tax drivers. With no incentives to move to cleaner fuels, a diminutive scrappage scheme and snubbing other proven ways to lower emissions, drivers feel cheated by out of touch clueless politicians.” [18]

January 9, 2015

In an interview with Tip TV,  which describes itself as “a daily finance show, created for financial traders and investors,” Cox argued that:

the 32 million motorists have been, for too long, a cash cow for the Treasury”.

He went on to argue:

They’re not always the bad guys, the oil companies… the government takes the most, they sit back there and every time, they say – and they’re a bit disingenuous in this respect – the oil companies should pass on the price to the consumers quickly, and they’re sitting back taking 72 percent of everything in our petrol tanks and diesel tanks.” [19]

Affiliations

  • Fair Fuel UKFounder, PR Advisor. [2]
  • Heavy Torque MagazineMember of Editorial Board. [6]

Social Media

Publications

Resources

  1.  “Howard Cox” LinkedIn. Accessed October 12, 2020. Archive.today on DeSmog: https://archive.vn/UKG93 
  2. Fair Fuel UK. Archived October 12, 2020. Archive.fo : https://archive.vn/X7Ski
  3. “Howard Cox” The Sun, Archived October 12, 2020. Archive.fo : https://archive.vn/aILj3
  4. “Howard Cox” The Daily Express. Archived October 12, 2020. Archive.fo : https://archive.vn/m4sbE   
  5. “About Us”Institute for Independent Business. Archived October 12, 2020. Archive.fo: https://archive.vn/cB4BC
  6. “Editorial Board”, HeavyTorque,  Archived October 12, 2020. Archive.fo: https://archive.vn/uChoF
  7. Tweet by Howard Cox:“@BBCNews worshipping at the altar of @GretaThunberg – no balance in their reporting just ‘she is an inspiration’.She is indeed impressive, she’s backed by £000000’s but please can we hear both sides of the #ClimateChange argument.” Tweet by @HowardCCox, February 28, 2020. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archive.fo https://archive.vn/6YYBp 
  8. Jillian Ambrose. “UK plans to bring forward ban on fossil fuel vehicles to 2030”, The Guardian, September 21, 2020. Archived October 6, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/odpDW
  9. Howard Cox: raising fuel duty would be ‘madness’,” YouTube video uploaded by user talkRADIO on September 1, 2020. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  10. Tom Payne, Millions of drivers were overcharged fuel by up to £10-a-tank in lockdown, The Mail Online, August 7, 2020. Archived September 23, 2020 Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/s3LA9
  11. Jonathan Reilly, “Michael Gove refuses to answer question on cost of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars ban eight times,” The Sun, February 5, 2020. Archived September 23, 2020. Archive.fo URL: https://archive.fo/QOIpd 
  12. Matt Dathan, “Rishi Sunak could increase fuel duty by 5p to pay for coronavirus crisis – costing drivers hundreds of pounds,” The Sun, August 31, 2020, Archived October 9, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/MNQVC
  13. Matt Dathan, “Britain’s 37million drivers face £107 annual tax hike if the Chancellor raises fuel duty by 5p”, The Sun, September 1, 2020, Archived September 21, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/cHFXv
  14. Alexander Brown, “Non-electric vans could be banned from city centres under radical new cycling plans to slash emissions”, The Sun, July 29, 2020. Archived September 21, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/AQ8ub
  15. Luke Chillingsworth, “Campaigners urge Chancellor to ‘resist increasing tax’ amid petrol & diesel fuel duty fear”, The Daily Express, June 21, 2020. Archived September 21, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/ETiJk
  16. David Wooding, “Fuel duty hike would cost Boris Johnson two in three working-class voters, survey reveals”, The Sun, March 8 2020, Archived September 21, 2020. Archive.vn URL: https://archive.vn/4fFxq
  17. Howard Cox from Fair Fuel UK talks tax increase on diesel cars”, YouTube video uploaded by user KMTV on November 23, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  18. Steve Hawkes “One in three Tory-voting drivers ‘could switch parties over plan for Toxin Tax on diesels without scrappage scheme’”, The Sun, May 7, 2017. Archived September 21, 2020.  Archive URL: https://archive.vn/l89ZW
  19. Interview with Fair Fuel UK”, YouTube video uploaded by user Tip TV Finance on January 8, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.
  20. Tweet by Howard Cox: “I’m on @GBNEWS tonight 11pm with @Nanaakua1 re ‘Are electric cars really the future?’ A controversial virtual signalling mindset we are being forced into, that will cost UK £trillions. There’s better less costly ways to lower emissions w/o Govt’s ill-informed 2030 fossil fuel”. Tweet by @HowardCCox, July 17, 2021. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archive.fo https://archive.ph/Oo18H 

Other Resources

Image Credit: YouTube video screenshot. 

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