Budget: Fuel duty increase scrapped

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The chancellor claimed the Treasury has forgon £6bn of revenue as a result of scrapping fuel duty rises
The chancellor claimed the Treasury has forgon £6bn of revenue as a result of scrapping fuel duty rises

While corporation tax also sees a reduction, budget seen as doing little to help the coach and bus industry

The chancellor George Osborne has scrapped the fuel duty increase scheduled for September in the Budget on March 20.

He told MPs he had “listened to the people we represent” – singling out the work of FairFuelUK supporter, Robert Halfon MP, and would scrap the proposed fuel duty rise. He explained the Treasury had forgon £6bn of revenue as a result of scrapping a total of 13ppl in fuel duty over the past two years.

The Road Haulage Association tweeted in response: “RHA pleased that September’s increase in fuel duty is cancelled. But we are STILL paying the highest level fuel duty in Europe.”

The Freight Transport Association welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to cancel the fuel duty rise planned for September 1, but expressed disappointment that “the pleas of industry and consumers to reduce fuel duty have been ignored.”

In its pre-Budget submission to the Chancellor, FTA said that in order to ease cost pressure on domestic freight activity and stimulate economic growth through consumer demand, road fuel duty should be reduced by 3ppl, with commensurate reductions in the duty rate for gas oil.

James Hookham, FTA’s MD of Policy and Communications, said:

“While we are relieved that the immediate danger has passed, in order to get the UK back on the road to economic recovery it is vital that we have a cut in fuel duty and a long-term strategy to prevent future rises and uncertainty.

“The Chancellor has once again squandered an opportunity to support UK industry, jobs and economic recovery, by failing to reduce fuel duty rates.

“The Chancellor has bought some time for discussions with the industry. However, there must be a long term fix in gas fuel duty rates to provide the certainty needed to stimulate investment in low-carbon fuelled vehicles to the benefit of businesses and the environment.”

CPT CEO Simon Posner said: “CPT is disappointed, although not surprised [given the current economic climate], at some of the opportunities missed – tax relief on season tickets, BSOG for coaches etc – in last week’s Budget statement.

“The flip-side to this is we are relieved a number of measures which could have been taken, which would have adversely affected our members, did not come to pass. As is always the case at this time, there were a number of proposals flying around Whitehall until the last minute, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment on the details of them.”

Adrian de Courcey, Director at Travel de Courcey, told CBW: “I don’t think the budget has done a huge amount for the coach and bus sector. As an industry we’re very heavily reliant on local authority funding and the budget has done nothing to address their cutbacks.

“The scrapping of the fuel duty increase and the cut in corporation tax are welcome announcements, but I don’t think this is a game changer budget and it doesn’t do a lot for the industry.”