George Osborne

Chancellor’s decision to extend fuel duty freeze receives conditional welcome

As part of his final Budget for this Parliament, George Osborne announced his decision to continue the freeze on fuel duty, thus ensuring the scrapping of the planned increase scheduled for September.

Whilst the measure has been welcomed, many commentators believe that the Chancellor of the Exchequer could have been bolder and seized the opportunity to cut duty.

As part of a pre-Budget letter to the Chancellor, FairFuelUK again urged him to ‘go further for the continuing benefit to the economy and cut duty on all vehicle fuels throughout the next Parliament by at least three pence per litre’.

Following Mr Osborne’s statement to a packed House of Commons, Howard Cox, Founder of the FairFuelUK Campaign said: "Today’s Budget is very welcome in that fuel duty has been frozen again.  FairFuelUK has campaigned relentlessly to show that lower pump prices and in particular cutting duty stimulates GDP, generates new jobs and lowers inflation.

“But why doesn't the Government go further and drive the UK economy continually upwards by cutting duty.  It's proven that will happen.  We give Mr Osborne 6 out of 10 for endeavour and will continue to campaign that duty should be frozen for the lifetime of the next Parliament with more pressure on a real cut in the Autumn Statement.

“The Treasury takes nearly 70% in tax and still has not called for a Pump Pricing Inquiry.  The Chancellor has been extremely lucky because oil prices have fallen dramatically and consequential lower pump prices have hidden the huge amount of tax still being paid by 32 million voting drivers.  This means the Government can take credit and hide behind a continual freeze in this levy.

Oil companies get tax relief for their shareholders to benefit from future dividends whereas motorists continue to be fleeced by retailers, speculators and the Government.  UK Motorists will decide at the ballot box in May which Party is best for them."

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) also welcomed the Chancellor’s confirmation of the freeze in fuel duty but like FairFuelUK expressed its disappointment that he has not taken the opportunity to opt for a real-terms reduction.

On George Osborne’s decision to maintain the status quo, Richard Burnett, the Road Haulage Association’s Chief Executive, said: “We note the continued, freeze on fuel duty which was expected.  Had he reduced duty (as he did with alcohol) he would have boosted growth and employment as demonstrated through the independent, RHA-funded, NIESR research.