FURY erupted Tuesday night as Philip Hammond raised fresh fears that he will scrap the fuel duty freeze to find more money for public services.
In a challenge to The Sun’s ‘Keep it Down’ campaign, the Chancellor told MPs he will have to balance savings for motorists “against the costs of the exchequer” when he draws up the spending review later this year.
He complained last year that keeping the price of petrol down had cost the Treasury £46billion since 2011.
And his latest comments suggest he is once eyeing up a tax raid on hard-pressed families and businesses on the forecourt.
Mr Hammond told the Commons on Tuesday that lorry drivers would have had to pay an average £23,000 extra on fuel since 2010 in added fuel duty, had the freeze not been introduced.
And he went on: “The benefits to hauliers and motorists of freezing fuel duty must be balanced against the costs of the exchequer in the context of our need to fund our public services – and so we continue to keep it under review.”
KEEP IT DOWN
Last night Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, told The Sun: “Any increase in fuel duty will be political madness for this Government that still has no long-term road user transport strategy.
“These short-sighted threats will see the Chancellor and his Tory Party doomed to the opposition benches.”
He added that Britain’s 37million drivers are already the highest taxed in the world, with a new £12.50 a day pollution charge hitting older cars in London this week. Fuel duty and VAT make up almost 70p per litre of the cost of filling up.
Former Minister Rob Halfon said: “Scrapping the fuel duty freeze would be a disaster for working families.
“It would also put up the price of food and increase NHS costs because they are dependent on transport.”
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The Chancellor was also asked if he would set up an independent fuel price regulator – dubbed Pumpwatch – to make sure firms pass on falls in the price of oil to motorists.
Mr Hammond replied: “We have a marketplace in fuel in this country.”
But he said a junior minister would meet to consider the plan.
Philip Hammond has hinted the fuel duty freeze could be axed to free up money for public services[/caption]
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