June 19 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Hard-pressed families received an unexpected boost today when Chancellor George Osborne announced that fuel duty would be frozen for the rest of the year, cancelling a planned increase in August.
It came after rival supermarkets signalled a price war at the pumps, pledging to slash 2p offf the cost of a litre from tomorrrow.
This afternoon, Mr Osborne told MPs the £500m boost to motorists could be paid as a result of departmental savings across Whitehall, the Treasury said.
Announcing the measure to cheers from Tory benches in the Commons, Mr Osborne said fuel duty would now be 10p a litre lower than under the plans inherited from Labour.
“We are on the side of working families and businesses and this will fuel our recovery at this very difficult economic time for the world”, he said.
Norfolk MPs have been lobbying against the increase, arguing people living in rural areas of East Anglia were already penalised by higher prices.
After the announcement, South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: “I am delighted by the chancellor’s decision. I have been pressing the Treasury on a freeze in fuel duty and this will be a welcome announcement for residents and businesses.
“It will ease the pressure on household budgets and company finances, helping to drive growth in South West Norfolk.”
Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman tweeted: “Great news - Chancellor shows he’s been listening to all of us campaigning for a fuel duty freeze.”
Tory MP Sarah Newton, who represents the rural Cornish constituency of Truro and Falmouth, told Mr Osborne: “If I weren’t on crutches I would be jumping for joy.”
Campaign group FairFuelUK, which lobbied against the increase, said it would have added £1,200 a year to the cost of running a lorry.
Jack Semple, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, said: “The FairFuelUK campaign has driven a change in the way that fuel duty is perceived.
“Today’s announcement will prevent further pressure being applied to the profitability and cash flow of UK hauliers in particular.
“More widely, the Chancellor’s decision will be welcomed by businesses and consumers across the entire economy.”
But Sustrans, the green transport charity promoting travel on foot, bike or public transport, said it opposed the move.
Jason Torrance, Sustrans policy director, said: “There is clearly a problem when hard-working families are facing difficult decisions about whether they can even afford to get to work, or do the weekly shop.
“We need investment in a transport system that gives us all a choice in how we get around.
“While reducing fuel duty may seem popular in the short-term, it’ll do little to help us all get around for our everyday journeys.
“A quarter of British people already don’t have access to a car. Labour’s plan does nothing for them, instead forcing people into expensive car ownership.
“Wholesale fuel prices are only going to go up and up so we need a transport system that we can all use - the Government must make our buses and trains more affordable and reliable, improve rural public transport and make our towns and cities safe for walking and cycling.”