Suffolk: County’s MPs call for chancellor to freeze fuel duty in budget

Call for freeze on fuel duty

Call for freeze on fuel duty - Credit: PA

SUFFOLK MPs are urging the chancellor to freeze “crippling” fuel duty in next week’s budget.

Petrol prices have been increasing steadily since the start of the year, and although prices at the pumps have fallen this week, East Anglia is still one of the most expensive places in Britain for petrol and diesel.

MPs David Ruffley and Peter Aldous have been lobbying George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, ahead of the budget on March 20 to freeze fuel duty.

Mr Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “The cost at the pumps is getting beyond a joke.

“For many of my constituents a car is not a luxury, it is a necessity. How did we get into this ridiculous spiral?

“I believe the chancellor should be able to freeze fuel duty for a prolonged period of time. There is no reason why it shouldn’t be frozen for 12 months at a time.

“I have had a meeting with the chancellor to put my views across and I know various other MPs from East Anglia have also made their concerns known.”

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The average cost of a litre of unleaded in the region is currently 139.95p, with diesel hitting 146.5p, but hard-pressed motorists received some respite today after supermarkets Sainsbury’s and Asda both announced fuel-price cuts.

Sainsbury’s said that from today, petrol prices will dip by 4p a litre, with diesel being reduced by 3p a litre.

Then Asda announced that from today drivers would pay no more than 134.7p a litre for petrol and 141.7p a litre for diesel.

The cost of fuel hit an all-time high in April last year at 142p a litre. If the chancellor announced a 3p fuel duty rise, prices would top this. MP for Waveney Mr Aldous added: “Motorists in Waveney face a triple whammy when it comes to fuel costs, having further to travel to work and to access public services, paying more for their fuel and with relatively low incomes.

“The cost of fuel is also a disincentive in finding work. Fuel duty should be frozen for the remainder of Parliament.”

Suffolk business group, the Country Land and Business Association, which supports owners of land, property and businesses, supports calls for the Government to be aware of the impact price hikes can have on families and businesses, especially in rural areas of the county.

Nicola Currie, CLA East regional director, said: “If you look at rural communities, there really is no alternative to the car and it’s significantly increasing people’s cost of living.

“In many areas, travel by car is essential, not a luxury, especially now many services, such as buses, post offices and even doctors’ surgeries, have been closed.”

Peter Carroll, founder of campaign group FairFuelUK, said: “Substantially and boldly cutting fuel duty is one of the few ways open to the chancellor to avoid slipping back into recession.

“Both petrol and diesel are approaching record levels.”

A recent report by the RAC Foundation found that 800,000 households in the UK spend a quarter of their income on running a car.

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