Freeze fuel duty or face a backlash, Chancellor is warned

Freeze fuel duty or face a backlash, Chancellor is warned as Tory MPs line up to demand the Conservative manifesto pledge is honoured

  • Rishi Sunak considering cancelling the freeze that has been in place since 2010
  • Boris Johnson made an election pledge that he had no intention of raising it 
  • But PM’s chief aide Dominic Cummings wants to raise £4b to fund infrastructure

The new Chancellor is being pressed not to put up fuel duty in next month’s Budget.

Rishi Sunak is said to be considering cancelling the freeze in the levy, which has been in place since 2010.

But Tory MPs plan to write to him calling for it to stay the same or be cut – highlighting Boris Johnson’s election pledge that he had no intention of raising it.

The increase is said to be being explored by the Prime Minister’s powerful chief aide Dominic Cummings, who wants to raise £4billion to fund infrastructure improvements.

New Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) is said to be considering cancelling the freeze in the levy, which has been in place since 2010

The cost of a litre of petrol and diesel would go up by 2p if there is a rise along with inflation.

The freeze costs the Treasury billions in lost revenue and is also seen by some environmental campaigners as subsidising those responsible for damaging the planet. 

Conservatives are worried that a fuel duty increase would go down badly with voters living outside cities who drive to work.

Robert Halfon, a Tory MP and former minister who has long led a campaign for duty cuts, said: ‘The whole of this last election was about looking after working voters, blue collar voters and helping with the cost of living. 

‘A fuel duty rise doesn’t just impact motorists but hits food prices, public services, ambulance costs and business costs and could have an impact on employment.

‘It could also increase the price of bus fares because a lot of them use diesel. People think it’s just a motorists’ issue but it isn’t. I’m sure that millions of working people watching Boris, trust Boris when he said at the election he had no plans for a fuel duty increase.’

The increase is said to be being explored by the Prime Minister’s powerful chief aide Dominic Cummings (pictured), who wants to raise £4billion to fund infrastructure improvements

The Fair Fuel campaign’s Howard Cox said he was told an increase in fuel duty was under consideration and being driven by Mr Cummings.

He warned UK drivers were already the highest taxed drivers in the world and a rise would hit lower-income families.

One option said to be being considered is for the increase not to be implemented until next year.

It comes on top of other tax-raising budget ideas that have come out of No10 and 11 including a cut to pensions tax relief.

One Tory MP added: ‘You just don’t know whether they’re trying to fly kites. I can’t see the pension thing happening. I think it will affect savings and the pensions industry, and our voters won’t like it.’

A potential rise is said to be one of the areas where Mr Johnson clashed with ex-chancellor Sajid Javid, who wanted to keep the freeze in place. 

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