Fury over rumoured fuel duty hike

FairFuelUK (FFUK) has slammed chancellor George Osborne, amid rumours he plans to increase fuel duty for the first time in five years in next month’s emergency budget.

Howard Cox (pictured), head of the fuel duty campaign group, told CM that a Conservative backbencher had alerted him that the price hike was under “serious consideration”, and was likely to be declared in July. The chancellor is thought to be mulling linking fuel duty to the Retail Price Index, which would increase in line with inflation.

Cox said: “We’re on the offensive big time. We feel betrayed, considerably, because what Osborne’s trying to do is say that he’s still freezing duty but it’s going up with inflation. But that’s absolute rubbish. Osborne is betraying us if it’s true.”

Cox added that throughout the election period, Conservative representatives were instructed not to discuss the fuel duty freeze continuing, but to say that they had “delivered the longest fuel duty freeze in 20 years” instead.

Earlier this week, FFUK approached its 1.1 million members asking them to email their local MPs and demand they vote against the proposal. At the time of publication, 11,000 FFUK supporters had emailed their MPs.

In a statement on the campaign’s website, Cox said: “98% of the 1.1 million FairFuelUK supporters believe that current fuel duty levels are still too high, with 65% regrettably having no trust in Mr Osborne, believing he will increase this tax in his second term.”
The Sunday Times reported the proposed increases would generate an extra ?4.1bn for the Treasury by the end of the decade, based on figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank.

The campaign, which is backed by the RHA and FTA as well as the Association of Pallet Networks, recently welcomed Microlise to its list of commercial backers. It also has the backing of the RAC and UKLPG.