Suffolk calls for Sunak to cut fuel duty and energy bills in mini-budget

Suffolk bosses have called for Rishi Sunak to cut fuel duty and utility bills.

Suffolk bosses have called for Rishi Sunak to cut fuel duty and utility bills. - Credit: PA

Charity and business leaders across Suffolk are calling for Rishi Sunak to slash fuel duty and utility bills in his mini-budget today.

The chancellor will unveil his spring statement in the House of Commons on Wednesday, with inflation expected to reach 8% and many families struggling as prices soar on the petrol forecourt and in the supermarket.

Rev Nic Stuchfield, chairman of Suffolk Coastal Debt Centre, said utility bills and the cost of food were the two biggest burdens for many people in the county.

He said: "It's difficult for the chancellor to legislate for a reduction in the price of food, but he has got levers about utility bills, and pretty much everybody has to pay those.

"Gas and electric bills have risen by catastrophic proportions and are very likely will do again in October.

"Anything that means less drain on the finances of those in dire need is a good thing and utility costs are probably the most significant cost that the government could do something about."

Paul Simon, head of public affairs and strategic communications at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said businesses in the county are experiencing "real pain" and called for a "radical package of economic measures".

Paul Simon, head of policy & communications at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

Paul Simon, head of public affairs and strategic communications at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - Credit: Suffolk Chamber of Commerce

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He said: "With companies facing unprecedented inflationary pressures on their cash flow and investment plans, we are urging Rishi Sunak to deliver a pro-business programme focussing on the loosening of some current fiscal policies.

"This should include the government using its financial headroom to delay the increase in employer NI contributions, a year-long package of tax reductions on fuel and energy bills and the introduction of a temporary energy cap for small and medium enterprises.

“In addition, the chancellor must not be afraid to revisit the difficult but key longer-term issue of reforming the disruptive and illogical business rates system, which he wrongly shelved, in our opinion, in the autumn.”

A spokesman for Ipswich-based shipping firm Cory Brothers also called for the government to cut fuel duty.

He said: "Too many business costs are soaring and this will mean more costs will rise for the consumer, and sooner.

"The government needs to get a better grip on this now and set out a clear plan for exactly how they intend to mitigate the energy cost rises."