Planned fuel duty rise scrapped

Chancellor Alistair Darling has confirmed that this autumn's 2p rise in fuel duty will be scrapped as he moved to head off growing anger from motorists.

Suspending the rise would help ease what is a "difficult time" for motorists and businesses, Mr Darling said.

Both he and Gordon Brown had previously given heavy hints that the increase, which had been due to take effect in October, would be shelved amid soaring oil prices, but the Treasury had insisted that no final decision would be taken until closer to the time.

Motoring experts have welcomed the move but called for more to be done to ease the pressure on motorists. "This is welcome news but it does not go far enough," the RAC said. "We would like to see the Chancellor not just postpone future rises but actually cut fuel duty."

Mr Darling made the announcement in a response to a Parliamentary question tabled by a Labour backbencher. "The global credit crunch and sharp rises in world oil prices have pushed up prices at the pumps. Today's decision will help motorists and businesses get through what is a difficult time for everyone," the Chancellor said.

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