Chancellor freezes fuel duty again

Chancellor freezes fuel duty again

The final Budget before the General Election saw the Chancellor deliver another fuel duty freeze for UK motorists.

The duty was set to have been increased in September, meaning drivers would have had to pay an extra 0.54p per litre for their petrol and diesel.

But Mr Osborne says that increase will not now go ahead, meaning that fuel duty has now been frozen for the last four years.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "Mr Osborne has clearly taken an opportunity to maintain the truce in the "war on motorists" whilst tying the hands of any new incumbent of No 11. Freezing fuel duty beyond the end of this Parliament is therefore a very shrewd move as it would be extremely unpopular for any future Chancellor to unfreeze it.

"Private motorists and businesses have benefitted considerably through both a cut and freeze in fuel duty in Mr Osborne's time as chancellor. What we need now is a firm commitment from all political parties ahead of the election not to reverse his decision as soon as they take office as this would be a retrograde, harmful step that will lead to an increase in both household and business costs and dampen economic growth.

"We believe the duty freeze has made an important contribution to the economy and hope that any future chancellor will now understand its significance and therefore think twice before reverting to regular inflationary increases. The above inflation fuel duty escalator that operated between 1993 and 1999 is the primary reason, of course, that we now pay nearly 70 per cent in tax on every litre of fuel we buy at the pumps.

"While the Chancellor has cancelled September's scheduled fuel duty increase we would ideally have liked to see him scrap the duty escalator altogether."

The Chancellor has also announced a raft of transport improvements around the country.

South West England is to get over £7 billion worth of investment in transport with schemes there set to include road improvements and an extension of the First Great Western rail franchise until 2019.

Motorists travelling between England and Wales on the Severn River Crossings, meanwhile, will see toll charges fall after they go into public ownership after 2018, Mr Osborne says.

Mr Osborne has indicated that the electrification of the railway line between Hull and Selby can go ahead and should be finished by 2024.

Copyright Press Association 2015