Chancellor warned against fuel duty rise

Chancellor warned against fuel duty rise

Most motorists believe the tax burden on fuel is already too high, even before a potential fuel duty increase in this week's Budget.

As many as 84% are unhappy with the tax of 57.95p a litre, according to an RAC survey of 1,372 motorists.

"The feeling we are getting from motorists could not be clearer: they do not want to see the Chancellor announce a fuel duty rise in his Budget speech this Wednesday (March 16)," says RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams.

"There is widespread consensus that lower fuel prices have left people with more money to spend elsewhere which both Government and independent analysis shows is good for the economy.

"The Chancellor has an excellent record of freezing duty but by not referring to it in the Autumn Statement, he implied that the 57.95p currently charged on every litre will be subject to inflationary increases in line with RPI from April 2016 onwards. And, even an above inflation increase cannot be ruled out. But what is very clear is that any increase will go down like a lead balloon with motorists."

The poll reveals 80% of motorists want to see George Osborne cut fuel duty or at least continue the current freeze, which stretches back to the 2011 Budget.

Some 26% would like to see duty kept at 57.95p a litre for the rest of the Parliament, while 18% would be happy with the freeze to be extended by another year.

On the other hand, 36% want Mr Osborne to go a step further and cut fuel duty by a penny or more.

"As a tax, fuel duty is well past its 'sell by date' - a fact clearly demonstrated by the underlying year-on year decline in revenue as vehicles become more fuel-efficient and ultra-low carbon vehicles become the norm," adds Mr Williams.

"Indeed, fuel duty revenues have only been maintained at their current levels because nearly two million extra cars have been licensed for road use in the last five years. However, the Chancellor cannot rely on an ever-increasing number of cars on the road to balance the books.

"The Chancellor should really be giving more back to motorists who are constantly complaining that the quality of the country's roads is sub-standard. Whilst the Government is to be applauded for announcing ring-fenced funding for major roads, local roads are still in dire need of an increased level of long-term investment."

HMRC figures show that the Government pocketed £26.7 billion from the 46.2 billion litres of fuel sold last year.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.