AA demand extension to fuel duty cut for another year or 'everyone will be hurt'

The Autumn Statement analysis by the Office for National Statistics says that the fuel duty freeze due to end at the end of March is also due to increase in line with inflation originally forecast at 11.6 percent. The move to cut the rate of fuel duty on petrol and diesel was introduced by Rishi Sunak in March 2022 when he was Chancellor, cutting 5p off the price of a litre of fuel.

At the time, it was welcomed by many across the sector at the time, with it being the largest cut on fuel duty at the time.

It came at a time when petrol and diesel prices were rising because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

However, some are now concerned about the fuel duty cut, as it was originally announced to only be for 12 months, as the AA wants it to continue.

Heaping 6p a litre (5p duty and 1p VAT) or £3.30 a tank back on to the cost of road fuel would be too soon for workers, families and others who rely on their cars to function in their daily lives, the AA argues. 

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Pump prices may be down but remain above previous historical levels – which leaves drivers out of the hurricane but still lashed by the storm.

Currently, petrol drivers are paying around 147.4p per litre, while diesel drivers are still dealing with expensive costs, spending an average of £1.66.

The AA also highlighted how some drivers have no option but to pay the expensive pump prices, given the train strikes, reduced bus services and the need for greater mobility.

Because of these factors, the higher costs are “so detrimental” to drivers who are forced to continue driving.

Further to a freeze in fuel duty, the AA is calling on a significant fund to tackle the worsening condition of roads and pavements across the UK as well as substantial investment in on-street EV charging infrastructure. 

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Drivers are out of the hurricane, but are still being lashed by the cost-of-living storm.

“It would be detrimental to put unnecessary strain on people by increasing fuel duty. Most goods and services are transported by road, so waving through higher pump prices onto logistics firms as well as the driving public will hurt everyone.

“Our message to the Chancellor is that hiking fuel duty will simply fuel inflation, so it is imperative that he keeps the fuel duty freeze for another year.”

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Mr King pointed out that snowfall this week will inevitably lead to more potholes and further highlights the dangerous conditions of streets around the UK.

He added that pavements were in desperate need of repair and without significant funding, local infrastructure will “go past the point of no return”.

Major and long-term investment is urgently needed, he said, adding that roads need to get back to safe levels while helping to meet net zero targets with cycling and walking.

The AA is also calling for on-street EV charging to get a boost, with around 300,000 public available chargers being needed by 2030.

Almost half of these are earmarked to be on-street solutions, but just 3,900 are currently installed using Government grants, rising to 10,000 in the coming years.

Edmund King added: “The latest figures show just 189 councils out of 398 across the UK have successfully applied for funding, potentially leaving massive blackspots for the 40 percent of homeowners without dedicated off-street parking. 

“More help is needed to encourage councils to take up the grants, with equal focus on urban, suburban and rural communities to deliver a fair and accessible charging network.

“To help with skill shortages, we would also like to see mechanics and HGV drivers added to the Government’s shortage occupation list.”

source: express.co.uk