A rise in fuel duty scheduled for introduction in September has been cancelled, Chancellor George Osborne said in his Budget speech.
Petrol would now be 13 pence per litre cheaper than it would have been had the duty not been frozen over the last two years, he said, the level of the now-scrapped increase had not been announced.
Fuel duty has not gone up since January 2011, when it was raised by 0.76p per litre.
It was then cut by 1p in March 2011 and, ever since, planned increases have been postponed repeatedly.
Consumer groups and industry bodies have welcomed the freeze. Both say higher fuel prices have curbed many people’s driving and hurt the economy.
“This news provides breathing space for families being smothered by the soaring costs of motoring, especially the 800,000 households spending more than a quarter of their income on operating a vehicle,” said Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation. The AA’s Mr King said “76% of AA members are cutting back on journeys, household expenditure or both, due to the high cost of fuel”.
However, FairFuelUK spokesman Quentin Wilson said more should be done. “Cancelling a rise that really shouldn’t happen is not enough. The government needs to cut duty substantially to get the economic growth we all need.”
John Lewis, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, said: “This is almost becoming a no-brainer. With the economy flirting with recession and household incomes still falling in relation to inflation, the government just cannot afford to price businesses and households off the road.”
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