Rishi Sunak says he is “on the side of motorists” but UK drivers might take a bit of convincing given new research showing they are facing skyrocketing insurance costs compared to the rest of Europe.

Analysis by the House of Commons Library found the motor insurance annual inflation rate grew to 43.1% in May 2023.

In the same month, the figure stood at 2.6% in Germany, 0.4% in France and 0.0% in Spain.

In both Belgium (-0.4%) and Ireland (-3.6%) the annual motor insurance inflation rate reduced in the same month.

The analysis found that UK car insurance inflation has grown since January 2022.

On average, the cost of car insurance is now £776, increasing by £119 (18%) in the past 3 months alone and is now the third highest household bill after council tax and energy bills.

It comes amid continuing concern over the cost of petrol and rising prices for second-hand cars.

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The valuation of a used Hyundai Santa Fe climbed nine per cent in 2021 and another 20 per cent last year, with a Mini One rising by eight per cent and 20 per cent over the same period, according to used car platform Motorway.co.uk.

The pandemic has been blamed with repeated lockdowns hit car production and supply chains, leading to a shortage of new motors and driving up the value of used ones.

The SNP seized on the car insurance figures saying independent nations within the EU had “managed to keep inflation low”.

The party's transport spokesman, Gavin Newlands MP, said: "This latest analysis demonstrates that independence is the only way Scotland can rid itself of broken, Brexit Britain.

"The Prime Minister and the Chancellor keep telling the public that inflation is a global problem but this independent analysis shows that Brexit Britain is being hit far harder than our European neighbours.

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"While independent nations within the EU have kept car insurance inflation relatively low, the UK's has spiralled out of control - skyrocketing to a staggering 43.1%.

"Small independent countries like Belgium and Ireland - who have complete control over their own affairs and access to the European Union and world's largest single market - have managed to reduce their inflation rate substantially.

"Meanwhile, Scotland continues to suffer under the control of Westminster governments we do not vote for."

It comes as Rishi Sunak has ordered a review of the roll-out of low-traffic zones in England, which are designed to promote the use of other modes of transport. The Prime Minister said many people were “reliant” on their cars.

However, he knocked back calls to change the deadline for the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars.

Glasgow is now almost two months into its Low Emission Zone covering parts of the City Centre, which bans most pre-2006 cars. Almost 100 drivers a day were fined in the first month.

Edinburgh is gearing up to roll out the air pollution measure next year.

London mayor Sadiq Khan wants to expand the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone to the borders of the capital.

Meanwhile, Petrol retailers are to work with the UK's competition watchdog to set up a scheme to allow motorists to compare live fuel prices online.

Supermarkets and major suppliers met Energy Secretary Grant Shapps on Monday after the regulator found drivers were overcharged due to weak competition.

It found annual supermarket margins on fuel had increased by 6p per litre between 2019 and 2022.

Mr Shapps said the new scheme would allow motorists to find the best deals.

The energy secretary said he met with bosses from Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury's and other major fuel retailers to "call time on their inexcusable behaviour of over-charging drivers".

The government also wants the pricing data to be available to third parties such as satnavs or map apps.