Budget 2013: Relief for drivers as fuel duty frozen and drinkers raise a glass

Beer will be 1p a pint cheaper as of Sunday

Beer will be 1p a pint cheaper as of Sunday - Credit: Andy Abbott

A SUMMER of discontent has been averted by the Chancellor who announced he will not be going ahead with a rise in fuel duty planned for this autumn.

The hike would have added around 3p per litre at the pumps - and many considered it to be the straw that would have broken the camels back, especially in rural areas like Suffolk where residents rely on their vehicles.

Mr Osborne’s announcement, which had been widely expected, has been welcomed by motoring groups.

AA president Edmund King said: “A September fuel duty hike would have been the last straw likely to break UK drivers’ budgets and would have led to a summer of discontent.

“The scrapping is a pragmatic move and will bring some relief at the pumps. Already 76% of AA members are cutting back on journeys, household expenditure or both, due to the high cost of fuel.”

There was further cheer as Mr Osborne announced that not only will he be scrapping the duty escalator blamed for closing pubs, he will also cut duty by 1p from Sunday evening.

This is one of just a handful of changes that will take effect immediately.

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Frims looking to recruit new workers will be able to take advantage of an Employment Allowance of £2,000 a year towards employer National Insurance contributions, of particular benefit to small businesses who wanted to hire their first employee or expand their workforce.

However, this will not come into force until April 2014, when all businesses and charities will able to reduce their National Insurance contributions (NICs) bill.

Up to 2.5 million employers will benefit, while 450,000 of the country’s smallest businesses will no longer pay any employer NICs.

Under the announcement, every business will be able to employ one worker on a salary of £22,400, or four employees on the minimum wage, without paying any employer NICs.

Other groups to benefit include those looking to get a foot on the property ladder, low paid workers who will benefit from the increase in personal allowance to £10,000 and parents paying out for childcare.

How will the budget effect you? Share your views by emailing natalie.hoodless@archant.co.uk

See tomorrow’s paper for full analysis.

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