Darling could halt 2p duty rise on fuel

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling may drop the planned 2p rise in fuel tax due in October, but maintained that the so-called green incentives in vehicle excise duty were essential.

Graham Dines

CHANCELLOR Alistair Darling may drop the planned 2p rise in fuel tax due in October, but maintained that the so-called green incentives in vehicle excise duty were essential.

Labour MPs, panicking after last week's Tory victory in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election, want the Government to change its mind on increasing road fund licence duties because of the potential of the policy to be even more unpopular than the abolition of the 10p starting rate of tax.

Mr Darling said today: “I intend to come back to the issue of the fuel tax increase that will be due this October. I will do that because I'm very conscious of the fact that people are concerned about the amount of money they are now having to pay out every time they fill up their car.”

But he added: “Vehicle excise duty's been linked to how polluting a car is since the beginning of the decade and I believe it is right we should encourage people to use less polluting cars.”

The majority of people would “pay less or the same in real terms,” said Mr Darling, countering claims that 18 car drivers people would be affected by the changes.

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More than 30 Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion expressing concern at the change in duty announced in this year's Budget.

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