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Budget freezes fuel duties but offers little else for riders

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.



Budget freezes fuel duties but offers little else for riders_04


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has repeatedly said he’s on the side of motorists but the latest Budget from his chancellor Jeremy Hunt shows little indication of that – with no moves to reduce the cost of riding apart from a predictable freeze to tax on petrol.

Announcing the latest Budget, Hunt said that he’ll be freezing fuel duty once again – for the 14th consecutive year – and retaining the 5p per litre cut in tax that was introduced in 2022 in response to rocketing petrol prices. However, his claim that “If I did nothing, fuel duty would increase by 13% this month” was slapped down by MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis, who tweeted: ‘“If I did nothing fuel duty would increase by 13% this month” - this is a fiction.  He's just saying “I'm keeping fuel duty where it is not raising it.” The Chancellor decides fuel duty each time, the idea is it goes up if they don't do something, but they always do something.’

Despite the duty freeze and the 5p tax cut, which drops the per-litre tax from 57.95p to 52.95p, prices are rising fast. February saw the biggest increase in five months, with petrol rising by 4p per litre to 140.75p (and diesel by nearly 5p) in that month alone according to RAC Fuel Watch.

Reacting to the Spring Budget, the RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “With a general election looming, it would have been a huge surprise for the Chancellor to tamper with the political hot potato that is fuel duty in today’s Budget.

“It appears the decision of if or when duty will be put back up again has been quietly passed to the next government.

“But, while it’s good news that fuel duty has been kept low, it’s unlikely drivers will be breathing a collective sigh of relief as we don’t believe they’ve fully benefited from the cut that was introduced just two years ago due to retailers upping margins to cover their ‘increased costs’.

“This has meant fuel prices have been higher than they would otherwise have been.

“What’s more, despite today’s positive news it’s still the case that drivers are once again enduring rising prices at the pumps, sparked by the oil price going up – the average cost of a litre is already up by more than 4p since the start of the year.”


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