Drivers in the UK are facing uncertainty as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has refused to guarantee that the fuel duty freeze will continue next year. Hunt stated that he will "look at that decision again" in the lead-up to the next election. The Treasury will assess the state of public finances before making a final decision ahead of the Spring Budget. The budget watchdog predicts that fuel duty will rise at 1p above inflation, and maintaining the freeze will put additional pressure on Whitehall budgets.
Fuel duty freeze at risk
A temporary 5p cut in fuel duty was introduced last year and extended this year, but it is set to be reversed from next March unless action is taken. Hunt had previously expressed his desire to help hard-pressed drivers save money amidst the cost of living crisis. However, when questioned by MPs, he stated that a decision on the freeze will be made in the spring budget and refused to provide further details.
Temporary relief or permanent measure?
Hunt emphasized that the fuel duty freeze is not a permanent measure and expressed his dislike for temporary reliefs. He believes that a permanent solution should be described as permanent. The date for the spring budget has not yet been decided, leaving drivers in limbo as they wait for an answer on the future of the freeze.
Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Harriett Baldwin, pressed for clarification on whether the next budget would be before March 23 or if the 5p cut would be allowed to lapse. Howard Cox, founder of FairFuel UK, criticized the Chancellor's approach, stating that tax hikes, such as increasing fuel duty, are not only political suicide but also economic Armageddon. Cox argued that drivers, who are already burdened with high taxes, should be seen as a solution for lowering inflation, increasing consumer spending, and generating more growth tax revenue.
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